How regional cooperation between Mali, Morocco and Niger will help in the fight against migrant smuggling

GLO.ACT Subregional Workshop in Niger 2018Niamey, Niger - 27 April 2018 - Under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), UNODC organized a sub-regional workshop from 16-18 April 2018, bringing together 32 representatives of the national authorities of Mali, Morocco and Niger responsible for combating the smuggling of migrants (SOM).

GLO.ACT Subregional Workshop in Niger 2018As far as transnational organized crimes go, SOM significantly affects the Sahel and North Africa region. Mali, Morocco and Niger are three countries particularly impacted by this crime, which, in recent years, has not only increased but has also become more complex. In terms of locations, Niger represents a crossroads for irregular migration and trafficking in persons (TIP). Niger's position as a key transit country is unquestioned. In 2016, an estimated 330,000 people passed through the country, mainly through the Agadez region. Mali is also a country of origin and transit for migrants, characterized by significant population movements within its borders and beyond its borders. Morocco - a country of origin, transit and destination - is part of the migration route to Europe because of its borders to the east with Algeria and to the south/southeast with Mauritania. Only 15 kilometres separate the shores of Morocco with those of Spain. It is estimated that between 25,000 to 40,000 sub-Saharan migrants currently find themselves in an irregular migratory situation in Morocco.

GLO.ACT Subregional Workshop in Niger 2018 There can be no doubt, that smuggling networks play a central role in continuously fuelling this phenomenon. Actively engaged against these threats, regional institutions and governments in West and North Africa have initiated policies and actions to combat SOM. Mali, Morocco and Niger are parties to the United Nations Convention against Organized Crime ( UNTOC) and its additional Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. Considerable progress has been made in the transposition and implementation into national law of the obligations arising from the convention and the associated protocol.

It is in this context and with a view to strengthen the work of the respective governments that UNODC, under the framework of GLO.ACT, organized the sub-regional workshop. The opening ceremony was attended by the Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Justice of Niger, as well as representatives of the Malian and Moroccan delegations, the European Union in Niger and UNODC. Addressing the participants, Mr. M. Chaibou Mamane, Chief of Staff of the Minister of Justice of Niger, stressed the importance of increased coordination and cooperation between the three countries in order to provide a coherent, effective and sustainable response to these destabilizing elements.

GLO.ACT Subregional Workshop in Niger 2018During the meeting, each delegation presented the major advances and challenges encountered in the establishment and strengthening of national structures to combat SOM. This exchange of experiences and best practices was complemented by a practical exercise based on the Glauco case, relating to the 2013 shipwreck that killed 366 migrants off the coast of Lampedusa. Conducted on a pilot basis for the first time in French, this exercise based on a real case allowed participants to work on techniques for identifying and dismantling a criminal network of smugglers. Working in small groups, representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Human Rights, Employment, Social Development, Health, Foreign Affairs, Women's Promotion, Child Protection, as well as members of civil society in each country looked through numerous transcripts of telephone recordings of smugglers and interviews records of migrants who survived in order to identify elements that would allow progress in the investigation. This practical exercise and the use of an actual case available on UNODC Trafficking in Persons Case Law Database also provided UNODC representatives with the opportunity to introduce its Sherloc portal to the audience. Sherloc is a portal for sharing electronic resources and laws on crime. Participants confirmed that working on an actual case reinforced the importance of transnational cooperation and the need for an approach that takes into account security, justice and human rights of migrants.

Upon conclusion of sub-regional meeting a set of recommendations were finalised. These recommendations will serve as a basis for the next sub-regional meeting.

GLO.ACT Subregional Workshop in Niger 2018

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and reaches thirteen countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach.

Workshop Report:

Sub-regional Workshop on the Smuggling of Migrants: Recommendations (English)


For more information, visit:


Twitter: @glo_act


For more information on Sherloc, visit:


For more information on the Glauco case, visit:


Media articles on Glauco/Lampedusa: