Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov:
Vienna, 27 January 2014 - Ten years ago today, the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime came into force.
By adopting and enacting this Protocol, States Parties committed to tackling the facilitation of irregular migration by profit-seeking criminals, to cooperating across borders to achieve this goal, and to protecting the rights of migrants in all actions.
There are currently 138 States Parties to the Protocol, indicating that this milestone agreement enjoys broad support.
Unfortunately, ten years on, migrant smuggling remains a low-risk, high-profit crime in too many parts of the world. The high-level organizers in particular stand little risk of getting caught, and do not have to fear serving time in prison, paying penalties or having their assets confiscated.
Meanwhile, these crime networks continue to jeopardize state security, corrupt state officials and endanger the lives and safety of migrants.
If we are serious about stopping migrant smuggling, States need to shift their resources to go after the criminals profiting from the distress or lack of opportunity migrants face.
Countries must put in place appropriate legal frameworks, aimed at stopping organized crime groups in the facilitation of irregular migration and protecting migrants from abuse.
The cornerstone of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol is cooperation. We must improve coordination and information sharing, and promote trust.
Let us renew our commitment to protecting the rights of migrants, stopping organized crime and joining forces to make this happen.
For further information, please contact:
Programme Officer (Communication)
Office of the Executive Director, UNODC
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990