Francophone Police, Immigration Officials from West and Central Africa Meet to Combat People Smuggling
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Senior law enforcement officials from 13 francophone countries in West and Central Africa will meet on Monday (18/3/13) in Dakar, Senegal, to share best practices on effective responses to migrant smuggling and measures to protect vulnerable migrants.
The training is part of a regional Canadian-funded IOM project to address irregular migration and migrant smuggling in West Africa and to assist voluntary returns and reintegration.
Since January 2012, the project has helped 537 smuggled Sri Lankan migrants intercepted by the authorities in West Africa to return home. It has also contributed to building the capacity of governments in the region in the areas of international migration law and other migration-related challenges.
The Dakar workshop, targeting key stakeholders from the police, gendarmerie and immigration departments of West and Central African countries, will particularly address governments’ capacity to combat migrant smuggling and the need to protect people on the move.
Experts from IOM’s Regional Office in Dakar, IOM’s Tanzania-based African Capacity Building Centre (ACBC) and partner agencies will facilitate the training, which will highlight the need for integrated border management, as well observance of the rights and obligations of vulnerable mobile groups.
Law enforcement agencies often find it difficult to differentiate between migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking, because of the increasingly mixed nature of migratory movements and the fact that they often travel together.
“Bringing together this group of 13 francophone countries from the region is a tremendous opportunity to share policies and best practices and to strengthen the capacity of governments to cope with increasingly complex migration management challenges,” says IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Carmela Godeau.