IOM Continues Capacity Building of Georgian Law Enforcement Bodies on Smuggling of Migrants

19 – 21 December 2016                       

Under the EU-funded More for More project, this week IOM delivered training in Tbilisi to prosecutors, Central Criminal Police officers,  Revenue Service officers and officers from the Border Police on effective methods of investigating the crime of smuggling of migrants. The group of 18 benefited from theoretical training and accompanying practical exercises to enhance their appreciation of how organized smuggling of migrants can be combated in an effective manner.  Topics included distinguishing trafficking in persons from smuggling of migrants, cross-border information sharing and the role of intelligence-led policing in crime prevention.

While the volume of smuggling of migrants across the border from Georgia to Turkey has diminished from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2015 it is a clear that Georgia remains 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.