IOM Document Examination Centre in Bangkok Aims to Help Combat Trafficking

Posted: 
06/07/12

IOM’s support to migrants and border management authorities
in the Asia-Pacific region moved up a gear yesterday (7/6) with the
official opening of a Document Examination Support Centre (DESC) in
Bangkok.

Housed at IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
in Bangkok, the DESC will provide guidance and support to
immigration and border control officials in several countries in
the region and thus combat irregular migration which can result in
people smuggling and human trafficking.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing cut the ribbon on the
DESC premises, assisted by Julanar Green, Political Counsellor at
the Canadian Embassy, whose government is funding the USD 2 million
programme. 

“The DESC will fill a critical gap in the fight against
irregular migration and in particular against people smuggling and
human trafficking – one of the great crimes of our time
– worth some USD 35 billion a year. It will facilitate border
management authorities’ access to the latest technology and
terminology, as well as allowing migration officials to map
migration trends,” he said.

Sjef Broekhaar, IOM’s senior regional immigration and
border management specialist, who leads a small team operating the
DESC, said that the new facility will fill a huge void in existing
services, by acting as a one-stop shop for travel document
verification. 

“Many officials get formal training in document
examination, but when they are presented with forged documents,
their gut feeling that ‘something is wrong’ often needs
backup. We can access the highest available document recognition
technology to help them make an informed decision to stop a
traveller or to allow them across a border,” he noted.

The DESC will work in close cooperation with authorities that
issue travel documents and visas in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR,
Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam, and intends to sign individual
country agreements to help protect the privacy and data of citizens
and visa
applicants.               

According to Ambassador Swing, IOM hopes to eventually broaden
the scope of such agreements across the Asia-Pacific region. He
appealed for new partnerships to help expand the initiative and
give better protection to as many travellers and migrants as
possible.

For more information please contact 

Joe Lowry

IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok

Tel. +66 81 870 8081

Email: "mailto:jlowry@iom.int">jlowry@iom.int