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Investigators from 8 countries plan joint responses to unresolved human trafficking & smuggling cases


Bangkok (Thailand), 16 November 2017 - Senior law enforcement officers from across the region have gathered in Bangkok to map out responses to ongoing cases of trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants, under the stewardship of UNODC.

Representing agencies from seven ASEAN countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand & Viet Nam - and Bangladesh, participants are planning joint action on cases ranging from the trafficking of underage victims to large-scale labour exploitation of irregular migrants. UNODC law enforcement experts are working with participants on technical aspects, including intelligence-led investigation methods and how to pursue arrest warrants through diplomatic channels.

The workshop is the culmination of an eight month period which has already achieved a number of major results, including the identification of a hidden rest-house used by migrant smugglers, the discovery of new smuggling routes, the updating of twenty-four arrest warrants, and the rescue of twelve victims of serious cases of human trafficking with the support of police in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

It is the latest in a series of workshops and mentoring sessions organised by the UNODC Regional Office to strengthen law enforcement collaboration at the operational level. Following the workshop, participants will build on these achievements, bringing a number of ongoing investigations to successful conclusions before they meet again in 2018.

Police Lieutenant General and Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, Nathathorn Prousoontorn, reflected on the broader context of the workshop. "Thailand is in a strategic position in Southeast Asia for human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The Royal Thai Police are working closely with the UNODC team to drive ahead with important regional law enforcement solutions."

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC ASEAN human trafficking

Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative, emphasized the importance of addressing the transnational nature of trafficking and smuggling. "Intergovernmental cooperation is important to address both the needs of law enforcement and to protect victims, and it is fundamental to the approach laid out in our Regional Programme. These crimes do not stop at borders and our efforts cannot either. This is precisely why we will continue to support this network of agencies and experts."

Benjamin Smith, Regional Coordinator on Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants of the UNODC, explained the objectives of the project: "We are helping law enforcement agencies with intelligence-led investigation techniques and a region-wide network needed to target high-level organisers of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. This is part of a comprehensive UNODC strategy to boost the quality of convictions across the region with respect to these crimes."

Click here to read more on UNODC's work on combating human trafficking.

Click here to read more on UNODC's work on combating the smuggling of migrants.

Click here to learn more about the UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia.