New York [US], June 29 (ANI): A UN report published on Monday highlighted that migrants smuggled across borders are often subjected to extreme violence, torture, rape and kidnapping, whether in transit or in captivity, but authorities take little action to address these offences.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) report focuses on transit routes in West and North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and Central America. It also examines the differing types of violence inflicted on men and women, and presents factors and motivations behind abuse committed during smuggling operations, UN News reported.
"Our research showed that violence is used by the smugglers or other perpetrators as a form of punishment, intimidation or coercion, and often inflicted with no apparent reason," said Morgane Nicot, who coordinated the development of the report.
"We found that male migrants are primarily subjected to forced labour and physical violence while women are more exposed to sexual violence, leading to unwanted pregnancies and abortions. All genders can suffer from inhuman and degrading treatment."
Migrant smuggling is a profitable criminal activity, UNODC said, with desperate people paying to cross borders to escape natural disaster, conflict or persecution, or to seek employment, education or the chance to reunite with family members.
"This is why we decided to conduct such necessary research," Nicot said. "Our study also analyses how law enforcement officials respond to cases of aggravated smuggling and highlights how challenging it is to prosecute such crimes."
The report found violence is widespread on certain smuggling routes, but there is little evidence that such crimes lead to investigations or legal proceedings, especially in the transit countries where the offences are committed.
"The violence that migrants experience during a smuggling venture is not always recorded or there is insufficient evidence to influence the severity of the sentences pronounced by national courts against smugglers," Nicot explained. (ANI)