The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently handed over nine of its Verifier Travel Document and Bearer (Verifier TD&B) tool to Laos’ Department of Immigration on 9 May at an event at the northern Boten International Checkpoint, on the country’s border with the People’s Republic of China.
Verifier TD&B is an automated travel document inspection and identity verification tool.
Through the Enhancing Border Management Capacity in Laos through Technology Improvement project funded by the Government of Japan, IOM aims to strengthen the capacity of border management of the Department of Immigration (DOI) by using advanced technology and identity fraud detection.
Pol. Col. Saysaming Sivilay, Director General of the Department of Immigration said, “This is a new milestone for immigration in Laos,” urging immigration officers to use the Verifier TD&B as a tool to detect fraudulent travel documents and prevent criminal activities. He added that the Verifier TD&B should be used as a tool in the country “to prevent criminals that use the Laos as a source and a transit country to commit crimes.”
The use of Verifier TD&B will allow DOI to detect cases of irregular migration, including the use of fraudulent travel documents and imposters, as well as to collect relevant disaggregated data which contributes to further analysis of trends on irregular migration both at the country and regional levels.
The tool is designed to read the machine-readable zone and contactless chips of e-Passports and conduct checks on several digital security features such as Basic Access Control, Passive Authentication, and more. It is an easy and user-friendly tool to conduct proper document examinations.
The handover ceremony was co-chaired by Pol. Col. Sivilay, Ministry of Public Security, Kenichi Kobayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the Laos, and Shareen Tuladhar, IOM Chief of Mission in Laos.
The ceremony was also attended by senior officials from the Department of Immigration (DOI), General Department of Public Security, Department of International Relations, Luang Namtha Provincial Department, Ministry of Public Security, and representatives from the Embassy of Japan to the Laos.
Ambassador Kobayashi said that as the cross-border movement of people has been increasing, there was a growing need for appropriate and effective border management to address risks, human trafficking, and smuggling.
“The Government of Japan has demonstrated the commitment to support the safe and secure movement of people including migrants,” the Ambassador said.
“Although assistance in border management is a relatively new endeavor for Japan compared to other areas such as health, education, and infrastructure, we will continue to act upon our strong desire for continued close collaboration with the international community and development partners such as IOM,” he added.
Ms. Tuladhar said, “We know that there is a direct nexus between cross-border crimes and fraudulent identities and document security. In the current environment, most cross border crimes are committed by individuals using fraudulent identities and documents.”
“IOM and the Department of Immigration, and Ministry of Public Security alongside other key government and development partners will continue to work side by side on improved immigration and border governance in Lao People’s Democratic Republic to ensure that challenges are addressed and governed to make migration safer for all,” added Ms. Tuladhar.