UN Migration Agency, Lao Immigration Department, Cooperate to Tackle Human Trafficking and Smuggling

Vientiane – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Department of Immigration (DoI) of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have launched a first training by DoI Master Trainers for police and frontline border guards to increase the country’s capacity to tackle human trafficking and people smuggling nationwide.

A group of 20 frontline border officers from international, national and traditional border checkpoints in Vientiane took part in the three-day Canadian-funded foundation training course. They included officers from Wattay International Airport, Friendship Bridge, Thanaleng Train Station international border checkpoints.

The course, which ran from 10-12 October aimed to strengthen participants’ knowledge of trafficking in persons, people smuggling and travel document examination, and was taught by some of the 22 DoI Master Trainers who graduated from an IOM Training of Trainers programme, also funded by Canada, which was organized in Vientiane in August.

The Director General of the Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Public Security, Colonel Saisaming Sivilay, told trainees that the IOM training and the development of the Master Trainers Unit had an important role to play in strengthening the operational capacities of the DOI. He went on to confirm his ongoing commitment to work with IOM on issues dealing with human migration, as well as the fight against transnational organized crime.

IOM’s Head of Office in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Misato Yuasa, said: “This training comes at a pivotal time when the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is seeing increasing greater inter-connectedness through trade and investment with neighbouring countries that will only bring with it more human mobility. It is therefore crucial that frontline border officers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to detect and intercept irregular migrants, assist vulnerable migrants, and collect and share high-quality information on illegal operations.

Phetsamai, a frontline border officer from the Friendship Bridge International Border Checkpoint, welcomed the opportunity to learn more about human trafficking and people smuggling. “I am very grateful as this training is very helpful to me because I work at the checkpoint. I need to understand more about irregular migration and its different forms, so I can prevent it from happening,” she said.

Following this training, an additional three-day rollout training will take place in Northern, Central and Southern Laos by the DoI Master Trainers for a total of 60 frontline border officers from border checkpoints across Lao People’s Democratic Republic

These rollout trainings will provide an opportunity for the DoI to start to institutionalize the training, as well as the training tools and training curriculum, whilst providing training to those remote border posts and provinces with limited knowledge in the areas of human trafficking and people smuggling.

The capacity building programme is part of a Canadian-funded IOM project: Capacity Building through Improved Induction and Refresher Training for Immigration Officials, which is currently in its third phase.

The project aims to increase the capacity of frontline border officers to intercept and assist smuggled migrants and victims of trafficking, to collect and share high-quality information, and to ultimately ensure the safe movement of people across Lao borders.

For more information please contact Misato Yuasa at IOM Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 730, Email: