Monday, April 30, 2012
Offering Migrants 'Package Deals' to Cross Borders
Gangs engaged in the criminal smuggling of migrants
offer "package deals," ranging from US$3,000 to US$20,000, for passage to another country, according to the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The amount depends on the degree of sophistication of the services they offer.
"The first package is when the migrant simply pays for assistance in order to cross
borders, and then has minimal assistance upon reaching the destination country, a package that could be up to US$6,000.
A much more complex package: assistance with facilitating false documents, could be more than US$17,000, US$20,000,"
said Amado Philip de Andrés, Regional Representative of the UNODC in Panama.
The business has become so sophisticated that one practice of those involved in illegal migrant smuggling even includes
taking people to a country that is not theirs, having them appear at the civil registry office to be recognized as nationals,
and thus they have a document in order to apply for a passport that will be genuine, but fraudulently obtained.
"For the African it is very hard to distinguish a Honduran from a Guatemalan, or a Spaniard
from a Frenchman; for us it is difficult to distinguish Chinese from a Taiwanese, Korean or Japanese. The gangs know
this, and they use this complex package with forged documents with considerable logistical support on arrival," he said.
He added that there are even times when the migrant is offered support in the destination
country during their first three months in order to find work, a service that increases the cost.
During the closing session of the International Conference on the Illegal Trafficking of Migrants, held in our country,
the UNODC Regional Representative stressed the importance of going after the money of the mafias who traffic migrants that,
according to estimates, take in US$7 billion annually.
In this context,
he called for countries to allocate part of the goods seized from the gangs to pay for actions in the fight against this phenomenon.
As part of the sophistication that the mafias have acquired, Amado Philip de Andrés
also warned about the multiplication of routes for the movement of migrants. "The transnational nature of the phenomenon
is worrisome, the standard flow is from other parts of Latin America to Central America, through the United Mexican States,
and then entering the United States. But these flows are increasing, and there is more and more interest in these mafias
to operate on the India subcontinent, passing by way of the Horn of Africa, West Africa, to reach America."
Given the complex modus operandi of these groups, he said that regional and international
cooperation is essential in order to fight the phenomenon, however this is not "too efficient."
"With more border area cooperation between countries, there will be a balloon effect,
as when you squeeze on one side for greater inter-policing cooperation the flows tend to go to the other side; if we are truly
effective in fighting this phenomenon in Central America, logically it [will] begin to pass through the Caribbean or vice
versa.... We have to automatically think about the other region, otherwise we will be working in vain. "
Mexico City, Apr. 19, 2012; edited translation by MexiData.info