E.g., 12/21/2014
E.g., 12/21/2014

Smuggling & Trafficking

Smuggling & Trafficking

Smugglers and traffickers—of human beings as well as illicit drugs and other contraband—are among the “bad actors” who facilitate and profit from illegality. As governments make massive investments in immigration controls, there is a growing demand for ever more sophisticated and creative means to circumvent border controls. The research here focuses on the roles played by trafficking and smuggling organizations, the repercusssions of their activities, and the exploitation and abuse of individual migrants and trafficked persons.

Recent Activity

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Online Journal

Central American migrants have long hopped freight trains known as "La Bestia," or the beast, to get through Mexico en route to the United States. While Mexico has been accused of turning a blind eye to this traffic, U.S. outcry over the surge of unaccompanied child migrants has drawn new attention to the use of the trains. This article highlights the journey aboard the trains, the dangers faced by migrants, and responses by the Mexican government and others.

Online Journal

When Congress returns from recess in September, lawmakers will need to pick up where they left off on approving an emergency spending bill to address unaccompanied migrant children at the border. This article previews upcoming battles in Congress and analyzes how the recent border crisis is changing the broader immigration debate in the United States.

Online Journal

The phenomenon of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, typically after an arduous and often dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, has reached a crisis proportion, with a 90 percent spike in arrivals from last year and predictions of future increases ahead.

Online Journal

Border control has evolved from a low-tech, one-agency exercise focused strictly on the Southwestern border to a far broader concept. MPI's Deborah Waller Meyers provides a detailed look at border-enforcement strategies and policies since the 1980s.

Online Journal

In search of a better life, thousands of Nigerian women have signed emigration "pacts" with smugglers before going to Europe, where they are coerced into prostitution. Jørgen Carling of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo explains.

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Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Video, Audio
April 22, 2010

'Securing Human Mobility' book release discussion with Susan Ginsburg, Michael German, Luis Rubio, and Donald M. Kerwin.

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Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Audio
April 25, 2013

This MPI event discussed the Dutch model for fighting human trafficking and the strategic and operational dilemmas that public prosecutors in the Netherlands face.

Video, Audio
April 22, 2010

'Securing Human Mobility' book release discussion with Susan Ginsburg, Michael German, Luis Rubio, and Donald M. Kerwin.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse. The discussion provides analysis on the reasons behind the growing migration of this vulnerable population and offers recommendations. Read the report here.

Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

Reports
February 2014

This Transatlantic Council on Migration statement assesses the continuum of policies needed to disrupt illegal migration-related activities and addresses the conditions that make them possible. It examines the role of migration "bad actors"—human traffickers and unscrupulous employers, among them—who operate and profit in this environment, and considers how governments can deploy resources to discourage their actions.

Reports
February 2014

This report examines human trafficking and smuggling trends and routes to Europe, and profiles the facilitators and clients/victims of such activities. It also offers a menu of policy options that are likely to reduce trafficking and smuggling flows, noting that such policies must be multifaceted to address a variety of contributing factors simultaneously.

Reports
February 2014

This report, based on an undercover exposé of Punjabi visa agencies by The Sunday Times, sketches one immigration loophole into Europe: so-called “donkey flights” by which Indian migrants obtain a tourist visa for a Schengen-zone country in order to enter the United Kingdom through the back door. Thousands of visa agencies operate in the Punjab region alone, with varying degrees of legality, some having links to criminal smuggling networks across Europe.

Reports
January 2014

This report analyzes how governments ought to best allocate their resources to address the risks associated with migration—the "immigration harms" that undermine the positive economic and social benefits of immigration—including choosing which threats to tackle and where to prioritize enforcement efforts. Immigration policymakers can learn from other public policy regulation efforts to ensure that regulatory actions advance the public interest.

Reports
January 2014

This report analyzes the exploitation of migrants in three spheres: the domestic care sector, the labor market, and the sex industry. It details several obstacles governments face in their efforts to weaken the "bad actors" that profit from exploitation, and shows how one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement is that serious criminals and lawbreakers often operate on the edge of legality and exploit legal routes wherever possible.

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