The 2021 session of the CCPCJ brings together representatives from governments, international, regional, and non-governmental organizations to discuss for the first time how countries can effectively counter migrant smuggling while protecting the rights of the smuggled migrants. The CCPCJ is the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.
Migrants who use smuggling networks to flee their home countries are often subjected to extreme violence, torture, rape and kidnapping while in transit or captivity. Despite the severity of these offences, little action is taken by national authorities and, in some cases, officials are complicit in these crimes.
STARSOM is a two-year project to counter migrant smuggling and protect the lives and rights of migrants across routes leading to North America and crossing multiple countries in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
An analysis of smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that migrant smuggling networks have benefitted from the restrictive migration policies, border closures and stricter controls and surveillance at entry points. Such measures have increased the demand for smuggling services, and many smuggling networks have quickly adapted and are using more dangerous routes and charging higher fees.