The EU-funded More for More project and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have delivered a training course to Georgian Border Police, Patrol Police and Central Criminal Police officers in Akhaltsikhe. The 20 participating officers learned about Georgian laws on smuggling of migrants, the regional and international contexts and how to identify smuggled migrants and smugglers. The border guards were also trained in sharing cross-border information and in crime prevention.
The location of the training course was selected specifically, as many of the irregular border crossings from Georgia into Turkey take place in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The volume of migrants being smuggled across the border from Georgia to Turkey has certainly reduced from its peak at the end of 2015, but it remains clear that Georgia is a transit target for organised criminals, who channel migrants to Turkey from their countries of origin in Asia and Africa.
It remains the case in Georgia that successful prosecutions of migrants for illegal crossings of the state border massively outnumber the successful prosecutions of organised migrant smugglers. The IOM and EU will continue to press for a change in emphasis so that organised criminals are the main focus for law enforcement, rather than the often desperate and vulnerable migrants.