GLO.ACT supports law enforcement agencies to standardize data collection on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

Lahore, Pakistan 22 December 2019 - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT - Asia and the Middle East) conducted a two day training workshop on data collection, management, and research and analytical skills for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Punjab police in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab on 11 December 2019. 18 officials (1 female, 17 male) from the FIA and police attended the training workshop. 

Prior to the enactment of the trafficking and smuggling laws, Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) were not reflected as separate offences, and data that was collected only captured a broad range of related crimes. Consequently, it was almost impossible to keep track of data related to victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants. In the absence of consistent, accurate and reliable data all the programmes and policies formulated to address these crimes and/or supports its victims, were not evidence-based, thus resulting in less efficient and effective interventions. Recently, the FIA under its internal restructuring, set up several Anti-Human Trafficking Cells (AHTCs). The workshop therefore was a great opportunity to support the new staff working in these AHTCs and to ensure that data will be collected and analyzed in a standardized manner.

The two key objectives of the training were:

· To provide education regarding the differences between the crimes of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM);

· To build the capacity of relevant law enforcement agencies to be able to adopt standardized ways of preserving the data on the subject, which can then be used for evidence-based policy development as well as effective law enforcement.

During the workshop, the definitions of the two crimes, their core elements and the way each differs from the other in key aspect were explained. Push and pull factors that lead to irregular migration were also discussed, and to enable a deeper understanding, examples of exploitative practices also featured in the presentation. Other aspects of the workshop were dedicated to data collection, its management, research and analysis. The term 'data,' defined as "facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions" was explained and participants were made aware of the different types of data available. The discussion then moved onto what constitutes 'good' data and, in an interactive session with the trainees, the trainers helped participants identify some of the problems that need to be considered by governmental departments to ensure standard practices around data collection, analysis and reporting.

A key feature of GLO.ACT trainings is to ensure high levels of interaction. Accordingly, participants were divided in groups of 4 and were given activities to allow them to share their experience from field and how to proceed towards a standard practice in this field. The small groups discussed key issues such as barriers to data collection and how these could be tackled, the effective utilization of data pertaining to human trafficking, establishing indicators for SOM and TIP data collection and how data can be presented efficiently. Participants pointed out that lack of coordination among relevant law enforcement agencies and lack of skills with relevant officials who manage data is a key challenge. A lack of trust in law enforcement agencies was also flagged as a concern. Victims of trafficking and vulnerable and/or smuggled migrants often do not come forward to report perpetrators which, in turn, negatively impacts adequate and accurate data collection.

Concluding the workshop, diverse recommendations and feedback was shared by participants reinforcing that with proper training, mentoring, coordination and cooperation amongst relevant stakeholders, these barriers can be overcome, and data can be collected efficiently and accurately.

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms.

This project is funded by the European Union.


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Shahida Gillani, National Project Officer


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