San José - The Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are organizing the Regional Technical Exchange on Migrant Trafficking webinar series, with the aim of strengthening police and judicial bodies in this area. During four sessions that will take place virtually from Tuesday 8 to Friday 11 September, representatives of public ministries and judicial institutions, migration authorities and research units of RCM member countries will present good regional practices in preventing and combating the illegal trafficking of migrants, particularly on investigation techniques and police intelligence and cross-border judicial cooperation.
These topics are included in the Work Plan on Migrant Smuggling 2019-2025, developed with the technical support of IOM and UNODC. The approved Plan has an implementation period of five years, and although it is non-binding in nature, it shows the existence of commitment and political will on the part of the States to coordinate efforts in the fight against this crime.
Smuggling of migrants is presented as a profitable activity for traffickers. There is no consensus regarding the estimated number of migrants who are smuggled worldwide, given their clandestine nature. However, it is believed that at least 2.5 million people were subjected to this crime, and this generated between 5.5 and 7 billion dollars in profits for traffickers in 2016 according to figures from the Global Study of our Office mentioned Melissa Flynn, Director of Programs and Operations of the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean.
"Due to the complexity of the issue, IOM proposes a comprehensive approach to this crime based on providing protection and assistance to migrants who are victims of related crimes; addressing the causes of migrant trafficking; building the capacity of States to eradicate the activities of migrant traffickers; and promoting research and data collection on migrant trafficking," added Michele Klein-Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.
The inauguration of the cycle was also attended by Raquel Vargas Jaubert, Director General of Migration and Aliens of Costa Rica, representing the Pro-Tempore Presidency of the RCM.
The importance of the issue of illegal trafficking of migrants and the behavior it has in the region, its growing trend and the complexity that characterizes it, make it an issue of great relevance within the RCM. Investigation and police intelligence techniques in addressing migrant smuggling must be adapted to changes in the actions of individual or collective smugglers. This is a constant challenge in the construction of new procedures and working methods that are feasible, effective and in accordance with the national and international legal system. In addition, judicial cooperation between countries can play a key role in the prevention and prosecution of cases. The current context of COVID-19 presents particular challenges that require new solutions based on collaboration.
This series of webinars provides a space for dialogue on these issues and for establishing mechanisms to facilitate their implementation. At the same time, it allows for the sharing of good practices and lessons learned in the fight against migrant smuggling in RCM Member Countries. Representatives of UNODC, INTERPOL, IOM and other organizations present in this space different tools for investigation techniques and police intelligence and cross-border judicial cooperation.
This initiative is supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). It is implemented in the framework of IOM's Regional Program on Migration Mesoamerica- The Caribbean, financed by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Migration and Refugees. The event is open only to participants accredited by the Member Countries of the RCM.
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