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Why Must Aerostats be well-integrated with Border Security to Control Cross-Border Human Trafficking?

Why Must Aerostats be well-integrated with Border Security to Control Cross-Border Human Trafficking?

According to the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery Forced Labour and Forced Marriage 2022 report issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Organization for Migration (IMO), in 2021, it was anticipated that 50 million individuals were involved in human trafficking, with 28 million being subjected to forced labour and 22 million being forced into marriage. This equates to 6.4% of the global population being enslaved at any given time, with 1 in 4 victims being children. The study further found that trafficking happens in every region of the world in various forms based on local customs and individuals’ circumstances.

As a transnational crime, human trafficking entails the transfer of human beings between different countries. Over the last several decades, international crimes, such as trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants, have been increasingly defined as border security problems. Victims are identified based on their perceived vulnerabilities before being tricked or coerced into being transported across international borders. When they get there, they have no say in their working conditions and are restricted in their movements and options. They frequently experience both physical and psychological violence. As such, human trafficking is linked to several crimes, including illicit money flows, fraudulent travel documents, and cybercrime.

Human trafficking networks rely on unimpeded border crossings to carry out their activities. Thus they employ a wide range of tactics to escape stringent borderland governance procedures and dodge detection. Corruption of law enforcement officers along the whole trafficking chain—including cross-border transportation—is alleged as one of the critical instruments adopted by organized crime groups to ensure evasion of detection.

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An integrated border security system is a critical factor in the fight against the trafficking of human beings. While border security officials are essentially the linchpin of curbing all transnational crimes, effective coordination with a wide range of border security stakeholders and improved data-sharing capabilities can undoubtedly ensure that trails of human trafficking criminals as they cross the globe can be identified, tackled and prevented.

Despite the best efforts of border patrols outfitted with cutting-edge ISR technology, there is currently no silver bullet to deal effectively with this type of trafficking. However, the lighter-than-air Aerostat is one of the most effective, efficient, and quickly deployable methods for providing the necessary information to key decision-makers to curb cross-border human trafficking.

To monitor borders for trafficking operations cost-effectively, border security forces can benefit from integrating a tethered aerostat with information system components. Given their lengthy dwell time and low life cycle cost, they are best suited for continuous monitoring to help identify long-standing trafficking networks and paths. The aerostats will have the payload size, weight and power capacity to support high-performance, long-range radars that could unmask any approaching refugees well below ground-based radars’ coverage pattern. The Aerostat-borne radar can detect these refugees and maintain track of quickly maneuvering refugees to aid them.

Border management officials must be convinced that migrants’ rights are integral to their security, border, and migration management policies and objectives. The primary responsibility rests with them to address trafficking in persons and uphold trafficked persons’ rights. This effort requires the utmost technical and human support so border security can be well-integrated among all key stakeholders. Otherwise, we are no closer to practical solutions than we were over a decade ago when the trafficking protocols came into existence.

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