UN Migration Agency Unveils Part Two of Its Global Review of Migrant Smuggling Data and Research

Human Smuggling, Migration Research

Geneva – The 2018 International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion (IMISCOE) Conference in Barcelona this month (2-7 July) was also the site of IOM’s launch of its newest publication Migrant Smuggling Data and Research: A Global Review of the Emerging Evidence Base – Volume 2.

The UN Migration Agency notes that this report picks up where the first volume left off, building on a review of current migrant smuggling data and research by covering additional geographic areas that could not be included in the first volume. Volume 2 also delves into migrant smuggling in specific countries seriously affected by this transnational phenomenon, such as Ecuador and Mexico.

Marie McAuliffe, IOM’s Head of Migration Policy Research, organized and co-edited the report.
Volume 2 highlights several aspects that are common to migrant smuggling in various locations, namely its clandestine and hidden character; the agility and dynamism of smugglers, facilitators, networks and migrants; and the variable impacts on people, most apparent when things go wrong and people are harmed or die en route.

The report is part of a broader project to counter migrant smuggling, of which research is one key pillar. In her speech to launch the publication, McAuliffe noted that “Just as responding to migrant smuggling is challenging for all these reasons, researching migrant smuggling is also challenging. It can be demanding and at times dangerous but it is also important.”

She went on to stress that research and critical enquiry can help us learn from migrants by documenting their experiences, recognizing their circumstances and better understanding their decisions so as to help amplify the voices of those use or are exploited by smugglers.

Florian G. Forster, who leads IOM’s Immigration and Border Management (IBM) Division, said the report was financially supported by the Republic of Turkey. 

Forster, who is coordinating IOM’s efforts in the field of counter migrant smuggling, underlined the importance of partnerships and close cooperation among the relevant agencies within the United Nations system: “IOM notably cooperates very closely with UNODC, the recently launched initiative by the two UN bodies for a Joint Platform on Counter Migrant Smuggling being another important element of this coordinated UN system-wide effort.”       

Three research-specific  recommendations for countering smuggling were issued based on the two volumes of the report: partnerships between policymakers and researchers on aspects of migrant smuggling should be strengthened; research capacity and institutions within regions should be built up in regions and countries where smuggling is prevalent; and emerging and priority topics for research and data collection should be points of focus in the development of global, regional, and national policies that are better able to respond to migrant smuggling effectively. 

The full report is available here.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Okoth-Obbo at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 93 66, Email: vokoth@iom.int