5 – 7 June 2017
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM delivered training this week IOM delivered training in Tbilisi to Border Police, Patrol Police and Central Criminal Police officers in Akhaltsikhe. The location of the training was specifically chosen as many of the irregular border crossings from Georgia into Turkey (and to a lesser extent in the opposite direction) take place in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The training course included the Georgian laws on smuggling of migrants, the indicators for effectively identifying smuggled migrants and smugglers as well as taking account of the broader regional context and international situation. The group of 20 officers also participated in practical exercises that highlighted the necessity for cross-border information sharing and the role of intelligence-led policing in crime prevention.
The volume of smuggling of migrants across the border from Georgia to Turkey has certainly diminished from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2015 but it remains clear that Georgia is a transit target for organized criminals, who channel migrants from origin countries in Asia and Africa to Turkey. Georgia’s relaxed admission policies remain a facilitating factor and additionally organized smugglers are aware that law enforcement capacities in Georgia are often not sufficient to get to grips with the international networks behind international smuggling operations. It remains the case in Georgia that successful prosecutions of migrants for illegal crossing of the state border massively outnumber successful prosecutions of organized migrant smugglers. IOM will continue to press for a change in emphasis such that organized criminals are the main focus for law enforcement rather than the often desperate and vulnerable migrants.