2024 Outline Congress Topics:

Managing Migration (organised crime as cover for migrant smuggling and THB)
It is well established that organised crime groups are able to adapt and evolve to use any weakness or vulnerability at our borders as a cover for nefarious activities. The migration crises we are experiencing on the southern borders of the US and EU offer prime opportunities for criminal activities, including smuggling migrants for money, which is generally a voluntary transaction but leaves migrants dangerously exposed to death, injury and abuse, and THB, which is the forced trafficking of persons. Regions of Asia are also experiencing unprecedented levels of THB, often for the vice trade. What are the latest challenges with migrant smuggling and THB, how do these two crimes differ in terms of methodology and how does can the international community combat cross-border crimes or irregular migration?

Terrorism and Countering Terrorism (incl. FTFs as sleepers)
Whilst the threat from ISIL and Al Qaeda has diminished since the destruction of the Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, Isil’s defeat has left thousands of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF’s) in captivity in the Middle East and -Stan countries, with many more yet unaccounted for.
How much of a long-term threat do these unaccounted for and incarcerated FTF’s pose as they are released or escape and use the THB networks to infiltrate back into their countries of origin. And how many have already made their way back to their home country without being picked up by the local criminal justice system. The UN mandated adoption of API and PNR, in combination with the more widespread use of watchlists, will be a key factor in countering the movement of FTF’s.

Maritime Border Challenges
Securing maritime borders is one of the most challenging problems facing border and associated agencies. Tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline. Thousands of secluded bays and river estuaries and inlets. Islands, islets, cliffs, beaches, marshlands and mangrove swamps. Busy ports and harbours. Numerous commercial and pleasure craft coming and going in conditions that can be anything from flat calm to gale force. Add to this the unseen; submersibles, semi-submersibles, scuba divers and underwater caches. Given the favourable conditions for criminal enterprise, no wonder smuggling is one of the oldest criminal activities. How do you secure your coasts and tackle the multitude of ingress and egress points and ensure that our coasts and maritime borders are as secure as they can be?

Countering Serious Organised Crime, Drugs, SALW, Smuggling
Criminal actors continue to be very creative in developing new techniques and channels to conduct illicit activities. There is an old saying, ‘follow the money’ – investigating financial transactions and use that information to indicate evidence of a crime, a suspect or criminal network. But it is not only the money that facilitates this, it’s exporter, carrier, forward freighter, delivery address, destination and more. Like API/PNR for passengers, this information builds a picture of the whole transaction that will establish patterns and history vital to identifying the organised criminal gangs that smuggle drugs, weapons, people etc. What are the latest challenges in the battle against SOC and how can border and associated agencies better use the data available to them to defeat cross border organised crime.

Future Borders
It is now clear that entry/exit systems are future of our borders and that API/PNR data is fundamental to their successful implementation. But how is that implementation progressing, especially at our maritime and green borders where there is little or no experience in the use of these technologies and data systems, and where conditions make it much more challenging, like busy ferry ports or secluded border crossings points or harbours?
As passengers in general want technology to make travel simpler, governmental movements towards new forms of border control with the use of Digital Identity are with public-private cooperation. What is the changing landscape of API/PNR and how will that data and systems be managed as it rolls out across the world and are Trusted Traveller Programmes based on API/PNR data the future.
What’s the latest thought leadership in enhancing border protection and management to counter the ever-changing challenges?

Challenges for small ports and airfields
As perpetrators of trafficking human beings (THB) and international crimes, such as smuggling of drugs or illicit goods, continue to show signs of avoiding commercial airlines, there is evidence that regional airlines and airports, as well as light aircraft into small private aerodromes and fields, are being used for these activities, where the handling of these flights by departure and arrival are not through the regular border controls.
Similar issues and challenges are being faced on coastal borders, with smugglers and traffickers of human beings using small boats to benefit from utilising beaches or hidden alcoves to conduct their illegal activities.
What can be done to tackle the use of light aircraft and private airfields, and small boats, which are difficult to detect, highly problematic to intercept and easy for criminal to be in and out again in a matter of minutes?

IT/Tech at the Border as an Enabler/Threat – Cybercrime / AI
The mandated use of API/PNR data will make travel much safer and ultimately easier. But, the more people and organisations that hold and share our personal data, the more vulnerable we all become to cyber-crime, both as individuals and as organisations. Systems using API/PNR data are and will be a target for cyber criminals. The more personal data we hold and the more we rely on data systems as enablers at the border, the more vulnerable we are malicious cyber-attacks, whether for financial gain such as ransomware attacks, identity fraud or simply to disruption of the regular flow of traffic at the border. Does this threat increase exponentially with the advent of AI or is AI the answer to protecting ourselves and our systems? Can AI be utilised to generated alerts, red flags on travellers?

ID / Document Fraud
Criminals and terrorists historically often make use of fake and genuine identity and travel documents to enable their illegal activities. The adoption of Entry/Exit systems and data will no doubt make this more difficult but we should anticipate that criminals and terrorists will use their undoubted ingenuity and considerable resources to circumvent this problem. So, what is the future of identity fraud and how do we put in place mechanisms to identify the vulnerabilities. And once identified the vulnerabilities in the systems how do we plug the gaps and ensure that those gaps and plugs are shared with colleagues worldwide? With different agencies having developed different programs, how can these work together to the benefit of the international border management community?