New campaign draws attention to plight of smuggled migrants in Mexico & Central America

Poster from new awareness raising campaign on migrant smuggling in Mexico and Central America. Photo: UNODC18 September 2015 - Migrant smuggling affects almost every country in the world. It undermines the integrity of countries and communities, and costs thousands of people their lives every year. This complex crime generates billions of dollars in profit for smugglers who operate through networks that cross continents by land, sea and air. Every day around the world thousands of women, men and children risk their lives to escape conflict, poverty, persecution and natural disasters, many putting their lives in the hands of migrant smugglers.

One recent example of this was witnessed when more than 120 migrants from Central America - 23 of them minors - were rescued along the Zacatecas-Saltillo highway in northern Mexico. The conditions in the back of the truck that was being used were so poor that the people's health and lives were at severe risk. These migrants had paid to be smuggled into the United States in search of a better life.

With instances like this in mind, UNODC's Liaison and Partnership Office in Mexico recently launched a new regional awareness raising campaign entitled 'Smuggling of migrants: #adeadlybusiness'. The campaign is focused on drawing the attention of authorities and the media to this violent business that ultimately supports a range of other forms of organized crime. It also serves as a mechanism to warn vulnerable migrants and inform them of the risks of using a smuggler. Through a range of products, including posters, videos, a toolkit, infographics and radio spots, the campaign illustrates each of the smuggling methods used by criminals, covering land, sea and air.

The campaign itself stems from a participatory dialogue between Governmental officials, civil society representatives, academia, journalists and migrant shelters. Through this, UNODC, as the guardian of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, looks to promote partnerships and coordination efforts to effectively tackle this crime while protecting the rights of migrants. The Protocol makes it clear that the offenders are not the smuggled migrants themselves, but rather the organized criminal groups behind the smuggling operations.

Further information:

Smuggling of migrants: #adeadlybusiness campaign (in Spanish)

UNODC's work on migrant smuggling

UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Mexico