Smuggling of migrants is a recurrent item on the agenda of the capacity building activities that IOM implements as part of the EU-funded SBMMG project. In the first week of December two courses took place in Tbilisi and Batumi for altogether 42 law enforcement officers representing the Prosecutor’s Office, the Georgian Border Police and the Criminal Police Department.
The British expert Ben Nicholls guided his Georgian peers through the current tendencies of irregular migration to the EU and how smart methodologies like developing intelligence and debriefing of stranded migrants can be a strong tool for law enforcement to unravel the criminal networks that organize smuggling of migrants. The trainer also stressed the importance of multilateral cooperation and for Georgian law enforcement to strengthen its operational ties with organizations such as Europol and IOM.
While illegal border crossing is quite harshly punished, Georgian law enforcement have little expertise in catching the criminals behind the smuggling operations and, hence, there is little jurisprudence available in Georgia. For that very reason IOM will continue tabling this issue on the agenda of the Georgian authorities to raise awareness and inter-agency capacity to affront human smugglers.
The EU funds IOM’s SBMMG project running until November 2020.