Preventing and Combatting Smuggling of Migrants through Strengthened Capacity to Examine Security Documents

08 December - UNODC organized the first specialized Regional Workshop focusing on document fraud investigations within in the context of migrant smuggling, with the participation of immigration officials and criminal justice practitioners from six countries of Southern Africa. The workshop was implemented from 04-08 December through UNODC’s Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants. It aimed to support participating States to implement the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the UN Convention against Organized Transnational Crime.

Participants came from six Southern African States, including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. With the exception of Zimbabwe, which is currently considering a ratification of the Protocol, all States have ratified the UN instrument against migrant smuggling. However, there are still no national laws domesticating the Protocol in any of these countries, neither clear expertise on how to investigate smuggling networks.

The overall objective of the workshop was therefore to empower participants to understand the concept of migrant smuggling, detect fraudulent documents used in this criminal activity and facilitate subsequent successful investigations to dismantle organized networks benefiting from this crime.

In addition, the regional workshop built the capacity of frontline officers to detect document fraud at airports.  It also enabled criminal justice practitioners to conduct migrant smuggling investigations, taking into consideration the protection needs of the irregular migrants, and to increase intra-regional cooperation in the detection and investigation of migrant smuggling cases.

The workshop was practical in nature, as participants practiced their detection skills on fraudulent and genuine examples of passports, visas and currencies alongside specialised forgery-detection tools. Of particular importance was the opportunity for participants to share their experiences and exchange on current challenges. The project was complemented by a specialized online training programme designed by UNODC.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Tiphanie Crittin,

Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer,

UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section,

Participants identifying security features on passports © UNODC/T.Crittin