IOM, Thai Police and Canada Cooperate to Tackle Human Smuggling

Posted: 
04/16/12

IOM, the Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police and the
Canadian Embassy in Bangkok will this week launch a project
designed to increase Thailand's capacity to tackle human smuggling
to, from and through the country.

A workshop marking the launch of the project: Strengthening
Border Management and Intelligence Capacity of Thai Government
Officials
will bring together law enforcement agencies and
other key stakeholders in Bangkok on Friday (20/4/12) to assess the
current human smuggling situation in Thailand, identify challenges
and discuss solutions.

The project, funded by Canada and developed by IOM and the
Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police, follows a visit to
Thailand last month by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who
identified human smuggling from Southeast Asia to Canada as an
issue of concern.

In August 2010, a cargo vessel, which had originated from
Thailand, was seized off the west coast of Canada with 492 Sri
Lankan irregular migrants on board.

The Canadian Government has now set aside USD 7 million over two
years to help combat human smuggling in the region and the Thai
project will mirror similar Canadian-funded IOM projects in
Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In Thailand, the project aims to increase the capacity of
frontline officers to identify and assist smuggled migrants, and to
collect and share information on smuggling operations. It also aims
to increase awareness among potential migrants of the risks of
paying smugglers to help them to reach developed countries in North
America, the Asia Pacific and Europe.

Thailand is a migration hub in South East Asia and a key country
of destination, origin and transit for migrant smuggling. Most
smuggled migrants enter Thailand overland from neighboring
countries, but some enter legally on tourist visas before beginning
their onward journeys. Some use fraudulent visas and others
fraudulent travel documents.

While many irregular migrants have been arrested and detained in
Thailand, challenges remain in bringing the smugglers to justice.
These include limited high-quality data on smuggling operations and
limited information sharing and coordination with neighboring
countries.

Thailand has a comprehensive anti-human trafficking law, but has
no specific laws covering human smuggling, which falls under the
purview of the country's Immigration Act. It has also not yet
ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime,
which provides the international framework for combating human
smuggling.

For more information please contact:

Euan McDougall

IOM Bangkok

Tel:  +66-(0)2-343-9341

E-mail: "mailto:emcdougall@iom.int">emcdougall@iom.int