UNOC organized regional webinar on COVID-19 and its impact on migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons

On July 10th, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a webinar with the aim of presenting the research brief “How COVID-19 restrictions and the economic consequences are likely to impact migrant smuggling and cross-border trafficking in people in Europe and North America”, discuss the repercussions in Latin America and present the work that UNODC offices in the region carry out on the matter.

The webinar was organized through the Center of Excellence and the Section against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants of UNODC, in collaboration with all UNODC offices in the region, namely: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and Peru and Ecuador.

The research review was presented by Mrs. Salomé Flores, from the Center of Excellence. He stressed that the report prepared by the Research and Trend Analysis Section and the Global Research Network of UNODC, indicates that the impact of the crisis by COVID-19 on crimes of migrant smuggling and human trafficking will depend in each country on the political context, the capacity of the actors in the application of the law and the socioeconomic conditions of the population.

In crisis situations like the one currently happening, the generation and analysis of data in a timely manner that support evidence-based decision-making becomes more relevant. Although data on this type of crime is scarce, this research brief reviews and analyzes the available information, in order to understand possible changes in these phenomena.

About the repercussions in the Latin America and the Caribbean countries, unemployment and the economic recession that will be exacerbated by COVID-19, increases the risk of large sectors of the vulnerable population to fall into human trafficking and migrant smuggling networks, due to what is likely that the number of cases of this type of crime is increasing, commented Mr. Carlos Pérez, of the Section against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants of the UNODC.

On behalf of the UNODC Offices in the region, participated Mrs. Carolina Appel from Bolivia, Mr. Nivio Nascimento from Brazil, Mr. Gilberto Zuleta from Colombia, Mr. Víctor Aguirre from Mexico, Mrs. Erika Aguirre from El Salvador, representing the Office for Central America and the Caribbean, and Mr. Walter Hoflich of the Office for Peru and Ecuador. In general, were presented actions that the offices have implemented in recent years to fight against crimes of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, and how the Offices have responded to the crisis for COVID-19.

This is how UNODC continues with the regional dissemination of a series of research briefs that the Research and Trend Analysis Section and the UNODC Global Research Network carry out in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on different phenomena related to crime.

Download the research brief.