GLO.ACT's National Project Officer for Nepal visits Migración Colombia in Medellín to research migrant smuggling routes from Asia to North America

UNODC Nepal visits Migracion Colombia for SOM study Bogotá, Colombia, 7 March 2018 - Under the framework of GLO.ACT, Ms. Binija Goperma, GLO.ACT's National Project Officer for Nepal, and Mr. Gilberto Zuleta, Legal Advisor for UNODC Colombia, visited Migración Colombia in Medellín on 29 January 2018 to research migrant smuggling routes from Asia to North America. The research is looking to confirm whether vulnerable migrants are being smuggled from Asia to South Africa and onwards to Brazil and Colombia in order to reach North America. In addition, the research is also trying to establish to what extent fraudulent documents are being used on this route by, for example, Bangladeshi, Indian and Nepalese citizens.

Whilst in Medellín, Ms. Goperma and Mr. Zuleta met with the Regional Director for Antioquia and Chocó of 'Migración Colombia, Mr. Wilson Patiño. Mr. Patiño explained that the number of Nepalese traveling to North America via this route was alarming. He said, "Given the country's location and size, the number is huge and is a major concern". The combined number for 2016/2017 of South Asians coming into contact with the Migración Colombia was 4002, out of which 946 were Nepalese.

UNODC Nepal visits Migracion Colombia for SOM studyDuring their trip, Ms. Goperma and Mr. Zuleta had the opportunity to visit the transitory rooms. These transitory rooms are where smuggled migrants are kept for a maximum of 36 hours and provided clean clothes, showers, meals and medical check up. The objective of visiting this facility in Antioquia was to find out more about how government authorities identify irregular migrants and what type of assistance they provide. Despite the fact that during her visit Ms. Goperma was not able to interview any migrants from Asia, she received valuable data and insights from the Colombian authorities with regards to the growing phenomenon of migrants from Asia trying to reach North America through transit countries such as South Africa, Brazil and Colombia.

The aim of this study is to better understand the risks and vulnerabilities faced by communities and governments in order to support authorities in origin and transit countries on dismantling the criminal networks responsible for migrant smuggling. Better understanding of this trans-regional crime will also help authorities provide more adequate assistance services to smuggled migrants or trafficking victims.


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Binija Goperma, Programme Coordinator,

GLO.ACT Nepal,


Twitter:    @glo_act