Ad Hoc Task Force on Planning and Preparedness Tabletop Exercise

Location: Bangkok, ThailandDate: 10 October 2022
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45 participants from 12 Bali Process Member States, working across immigration, police and government, came together to workshop issues in detection, investigation and prosecution at the Bali Process Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness Tabletop Exercise, co-chaired by New Zealand and Viet Nam.

The RSO facilitated the tabletop exercise together with Immigration New Zealand, using a hypothetical case study scenario modelling the movement of migrants, with expert input from IOM, UNODC and UNHCR. Participants considered thematic issues including the growing use of technology by organised criminal groups, vulnerabilities of women and children, and the need to account for health-related contingencies.

The exercise was an opportunity to build informal networks and promote dialogue between policy and operational agencies on preparedness for managing a large influx of irregular migrants, including how to investigate and prosecute people smuggling and human trafficking along migration routes in the region.

Day one of the Exercise, facilitated by the Regional Support Office, provided an opportunity to consider:

  • the range of national and regional stakeholders that would be involved in the response and the sort of coordination mechanisms required
  • reception arrangements to manage the different needs and potential protection requirements of members of the mixed group
  • mechanisms for screening and referral to appropriate authorities and services.

The Co-Chairs of the Working Group on Disruption led Day two, which focused on an effective law enforcement investigation into crimes committed as part of the mixed movement, including decision-making around prosecution and digital evidence gathering.

Key themes of the discussions at the Table Top Exercise included:

  • the need for multi-disciplinary responses, involving – among others – law enforcement, border officials, social services, and the value of national coordination mechanisms
  • the importance of data collection
  • the value of preparedness, including standard operating procedures and guidelines for managing human trafficking and people smuggling.

Building on the themes of the Policy Experts Gatherings in July, participants discussed child protection considerations, the importance of gender-sensitive approach to handling irregular migration situations, and health considerations.