Panama and Costa Rica strengthen actions to combat migrant smuggling and cybercrime

Costa Rica, Panama
19 May, 2021


With the aim of sharing good investigative practices among law enforcement, security, migration and judicial institutions that can strengthen the fight against crime, promote international cooperation and teach us more of the challenges faced by border police forces, Panama and Costa Rica, along with other allied states, participated in the III Binational Meeting on the Investigation of Illicit Trafficking of Migrants Linked to Cybercrime that took place on the 18th and 19th of May, 2021, in a blended session with virtual and on location participants. 


The meeting was attended by authorities from the governments of Panama and Costa Rica, as well as officials from various police and tax security departments, representatives of several specialized agencies within the United Nations System, and members of the civil society. 


Nearly 500 participants watched the live streaming of the event from Panama City, Chiriqui, Darien, Costa Rica. More than 200 officials from Panama, Argentina, Ecuador, the United States, Central America and the Caribbean participated virtually. 


For Juan Manuel Pino, Minister of Public Security of Panama, “this shared space of learning shows the commitment of all States to combat transnational organized crime, particularly migrant smuggling, which is a threat to security and human rights. We highlight our government’s commitment to support and continue participating in these types of meetings that promote regional collaboration and develop the capacities of the government officials of Panama and other allied countries, whose joint efforts are supported by good and better practices. 


This binational exchange of experiences and good practices was held within the framework of the Western Hemisphere Program, implemented by IOM and funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the U.S. Department of State. It was attended by representatives of the National Police of Panama, National Migration Service of Panama, officials of the ministries of security of Panama and Costa Rica, as well as specialists from the United States of America, and representatives of the migratory police forces of Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador. 


Francisco Furlani, Officer-in-Charge of the IOM office in Costa Rica, highlighted that "working with law enforcement agencies is fundamental for strengthening their investigative units for the disarticulation of networks that carry out this crime as a lucrative source. This III Binational Meeting reaffirms the importance of seeking synergies and cooperation with allied States to combat this transnational crime, we reiterate our support for continuing to fight together with States to combat the risks associated with irregular migration." 


Likewise, Santiago Paz, Head of the Panama Administrative Center and Chief of the IOM Mission in Panama, stressed that the role of IOM is to strengthen the States’ institutional capacities of preventing, detecting, and investigating cases of migrant smuggling, while providing adequate processing and referral services to the victims, in order to meet their needs of protection. 


Meetings such as this one are expected to strengthen the establishment of broader networks of cooperation to combat migrant smuggling through the exchange of knowledge, the use of new technologies and research mechanisms, the proper management of information, and the development of operations aimed at strengthening bilateral and regional actions. 


For further information contact the IOM Communications Unit in Panama, via