IOM Ghana’s Counter-Smuggling Project Hosts Capacity-Building Workshops to Address Transnational Threat of Migrant Smuggling

Capacity Building

Ghana - IOM hosted a capacity-building workshop to address the transnational threat of migrant smuggling in Lomé, Togo, from 21-25 November. The innovative trainings targeted land border officials from Ghana and Togo and was an important first step in fostering cooperation between the neighboring countries to fight against the growing phenomenon.   

IOM Ghana provided various agencies on both sides of the borders with the essential skills necessary to bridge the gaps that currently exist and raise awareness on the issue of migrant smuggling. Some of the Ghanaian agencies that participated included officials from Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Police Service (GPS), the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, as well as the Bureau of National Investigation (BIN). The equivalent respective bodies in Togo were also present.

The specific topics addressed during the week-long training sessions included: basic smuggling definitions and concepts, identification of smugglers and smuggled migrants, investigation techniques, as well as the legal international framework and protection rights of smuggled migrants. 

Blanca Siles Romero, the IOM Manager for this project, believes the simultaneous training of Ghanaian and Togolese border officials was important given the fact that both countries operate under very different border laws and regulations.  

“Both countries have as their priority national security and the protection of their citizens that are assured through a good border management. I believe opportunities like this training improve communication among national institutions through the exchanges of individual officers. In terms of preventing the smuggling of migrants, an effective cooperation system between neighboring countries is essential.”

As a participant of the workshop, Deputy Superintendent for the Ghana Immigration Service, Sampson Ofori Danso, shared what the main challenges with border security in Ghana are and how he hopes this workshop will help to address them.

“We encounter a number of border security issues on the Ghana side of the border which include people crossing numerous unapproved routes along the frontiers without the appropriate travel documents, inadequate patrol vehicles to monitor these routes, as well as limited equipment and facilities for immigration officers to properly carry out their work. This workshop however, has helped to strengthen awareness on how to detect fraudulent travel documents as well as how to process travelers through immigration controls in order to detect potential smugglers.”

IOM Ghana’s Counter-Smuggling project is aimed at addressing counter-smuggling and protection gaps in Ghana, Benin and Togo by strengthening national and regional coordination mechanisms. As part of the project’s component on capacity building, a similar training session was conducted in Benin for land border officials from Togo and Benin.

As part of the project, another series of trainings for marine border officials from all three countries will take place in January 2017 in Tema, Ghana.  The Counter-Smuggling project is being funded by the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP), under the Foreign Affairs Department of the Canadian government.

For more information please contact Blanca Siles Romero at IOM Togo, Tel: (+228) 96 74 59 41, Email:

Counter-Smuggling Project Manager, Blanca Siles Romero delivers a presentation on the project overview. Photo: IOM