Migrant smuggling becomes visible when tragedies occur, such as people drowning or perishing inside trucks, but these events are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. IOM’s first global report on migrant smuggling provides a review of the emerging evidence base.
The report: “Migrant Smuggling Data and Research: A global review of the emerging evidence base” was launched this week (02/11) in Geneva and is the result of a collaboration between IOM and researchers from a range of backgrounds and academic disciplines. It was funded by the Government of Turkey.
“Reliance on smugglers makes migrants particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. In this ever more pressing situation, States are being severely tested in the fulfilment of their responsibilities to protect migrants’ human rights and manage their borders,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.
“Against this backdrop, the report helps to deepen our understanding of the smuggling phenomenon and provides insights into how responses can be formulated that better protect migrants, while enhancing States’ abilities to manage safe and orderly migration,” he added.
The Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarıkçı said: “Establishing a good evidence base through proper research is absolutely vital to contribute to the development of better and more comprehensive operational responses to effectively address migrant smuggling, while improving the protection of vulnerable migrants.”
The report shows that important research has been undertaken on the transnational crime aspects of migrant smuggling, including on routes, smuggling organization (such as criminal networking and facilitation), smuggler profiles and fees/payment. Likewise, there is an emerging academic literature on migrant smuggling, particularly the economic and social processes involved in smuggling.
However, sizeable gaps in research and data remain, particularly in relation to migration patterns and processes linked to migrant smuggling, including its impact on migrants (particularly vulnerability, abuse and exploitation), as well as its impact on irregular migration flows (such as increasing scale, diversity and changes in geography).
Addressing these systemic and regional gaps in data and research would help deepen understanding of the smuggling phenomenon, and provide further insights into how responses can be formulated that better protect migrants, while enhancing States’ ability to manage orderly migration.
The report is available at: https://publications.iom.int/books/migrant-smuggling-data-and-research-g…
IOM’s involvement in counter migrant smuggling is based on a comprehensive four pillar approach: providing protection and assistance to smuggled migrants; addressing the causes of migrant smuggling; enhancing States’ capacity to disrupt the activities of migrant smugglers; and promoting research and data collection on migrant smuggling.