This report gives a comprehensive overview of the key messages, discussion points and conclusions articulated during the Regional Conference on Counter Migrant Smuggling: Innovative Ideas and New Models of Cooperation, and extends it with the authors’ analytical reflections. The conference was held in Istanbul on 5–6 July 2017 and hosted by the Government of Turkey, with support from the International Organization for Migration. It brought together more than 70 participants from countries in the region that are affected by the recent surge of smuggled migrants moving towards Europe. With the overall objective of generating innovative ideas to disrupt, detect and prosecute migrant smugglers, as well as exploring the development of new models of cooperation, the conference facilitated a fruitful discussion among experts in governments, research institutes, academia and intergovernmental organizations. High-level and diverse input were provided by a variety of panellists with expertise in the areas of law enforcement, migration management, border management and criminal justice.
During the conference, the following five broad themes were addressed: (a) strengthening legal frameworks and capacity-building on counter-migrant smuggling; (b) countering migrant smuggling while ensuring the safety and dignity of migrants; (c) dismantling the business model: organized criminal networks and migrant smuggling; (d) strengthening the evidence base on migrant smuggling; and (e) improving cooperation at the regional and international levels.
This report captures the key interventions of the panellists in these thematic areas and puts forward a set of policy recommendations to effectively counter migrant smuggling while ensuring the protection of migrants. These recommendations have the potential of enhancing the capacity of States to develop policy, legislation and the operational capability to disrupt, interdict and prosecute migrant smugglers while ensuring the safety and dignity of migrants.