No adequate training is provided to practitioners regarding current legislation with respect to migrant smuggling and the protection of unaccompanied minors.
There is a need for consistent and continuous training regarding identification techniques at the external borders, which should mainly consist of screening technology and up-to-date workshops on investigative tools, persecution processes, handling/suppressing criminal network activities and many more. Thus, there is constant need for continuous professional development for the practitioners. Training curricula should be developed to assist practitioners to cope with Therefore, identification of migrants, victims, and criminals, as well as the timely identification of the new routes, is crucial. Apart of the training on new tools practitioners should also receive training on a variety of topics related to migration challenges. The main identification protocol relies on interviews and collection of immigrants’ fingerprints, however immigrants occasionally lie about the information they provide, making the need for accurate and precise information more critical. A possible solution would be the creation of information hotspots with translators, cultural mediators, legal experts, forensic police and other law enforcement authorities.
Dealing with unaccompanied minors is an additional challenge and burden for LEAs. Minors appear more distressed and do not adjust like adults in the reception processes. They need additional help and guidance due to their inability to adequately understand information and follow guidelines regarding their next steps. Therefore, legal aid exclusively for minors and other vulnerable/destressed migrants should be put into place, in order to provide advice and support in preparing their applications for international protection or family reunification. NGOs could offer crucial help in this domain. However, as stated security stakeholders should have their personnel trained to respond to divert challenges, from operating complex tools, to cope with psychological pressure and dealing with vulnerable people and follow complex and constantly evolving legal procedures.
A step in the right direction was also made by the Commission’s proposal for a new pact on migration and asylum, which exempts minors from border procedures. Furthermore, additional caution should be exercised while sharing information on minors. Due to their inherent vulnerability, all processes should be applied carefully and ‘by the book’, and always in contact with the public authorities (note: The prosecutor is appointed as the temporary guardian of the minors).
Moreover, identification actions need to also go outside the EU realm in order to identify criminals who smuggle migrants to Europe from Third Countries.