North and Central American countries follow up on the Regional Plan to Combat Migrant Smuggling

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Other, Panama
7 June, 2019


Mexico City. Representatives of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), composed of the governments of Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States of America, met on 4 and 5 June for a follow-up workshop to the 2019-2025 Work Plan on  Migrant Smuggling, prepared jointly and approved by vice ministers in 2018.   

Delegations included representatives of foreign ministries, prosecutors and specialized investigators against migrant smuggling, Migration Police and Migration Institutes. In addition, various agencies and experts provided inputs, including INTERPOL, IOM, UNODC and representatives of civil society organizations.  "We support regional efforts to combat the smuggling of migrants in Mexico and the region through events such as today's workshop," said Chantal Chastenay, Ministerial Councillor of the Government of Canada.  

During the activity, in order to translate regional activities on Migrant Smuggling into concrete results, participants worked on the creation of national action plans, which include, for example, the development of specific legislation against the Migrant Smuggling and protocols for action in detention and migrant centers. Countries exchanged data and trends on migration flows, in particular on the increase in extra-regional migrants in 2019 from Africa and Asia, arriving from South America through the Darien jungle in Panama with the intention of reaching the United States. There was also a broad dialogue on good practices at the national and binational levels, which could soon be translated into more far-reaching cooperation actions replicated throughout the region.   

The Work Plan on Migrant Smuggling was created to address this particular problem and stands out for its comprehensive approach that includes actions on security, but also on protection and the search for migratory solutions. Ultimately, its implementation should protect migrants and prevent irregular migration, as well as promote safe and orderly migration.  This plan was developed with technical support from IOM within the framework of the Regional Program on Migration (Mesoamerica Program), and other United Nations agencies such as UNODC.   

"Our work to improve migration governance involves, among other aspects, preventing and combating the smuggling of migrants, promoting the development and updating of existing legislation, its effective enforcement and the articulation of efforts by governments in the region," commented Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director.  

The activity was organized by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Technical Secretariat of the RCM, with technical and financial assistance from IOM. It was made possible through two programmes: the Regional Program on Migration, funded by PRM, U.S. Department of State and the Capacity Building Project to Prevent and Combat the Smuggling of Migrants by Sea in Mexico, funded by ACCBP, Canada.  

Download the plan here: