UNODC and RSO Roundtable examining Corruption as a Facilitator of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Thailand concludes series of national roundtables
The final in a series of national roundtables led by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO) on the links between corruption, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants took place on 18 October 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The roundtable, the seventh in the series funded by the Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs, brought together participants from Royal Thai Government agencies, including the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (ONACC).
The event was structured around discussions of the UNODC and RSO joint publication: Corruption as a Facilitator of Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons in the Bali Process Region with a focus on South East Asia, with participants discussing how recommendations from the report could apply in their national context, and addressing challenges agencies have with internal coordination around corruption reporting.
Evan Jones, the RSO’s Programme Coordinator for Communications, Capability and Enquiry, emphasised the importance of anti-corruption efforts in reducing trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, specifically highlighting the close correlation between corruption and transnational organised crime. He said:
“Corruption truly is an issue that exists everywhere. Transnational organised crime couldn't function without it. The mere presence of criminal groups and organised illicit activity, such as human trafficking and people smuggling, should be seen as evidence that some corruption is present.”
Agencies discussed best practices and challenges around reporting, sharing information and prosecuting corruption within Thailand’s agencies and with the ONACC. Conversations highlighted how these processes could be improved, and suggested avenues for agencies to better work together on corruption cases in Thailand.
Previous roundtables have taken place in Viet Nam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Pacific Islands. With the Thailand national roundtable concluding the series, a regional conference will be held in coming weeks drawing together challenges identified and lessons learned across the region – and providing the opportunity for colleagues to come together to distil findings and proposed next steps for the region.