E.g., 10/23/2020
E.g., 10/23/2020

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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Inmigrantes venezolanos, crimen y percepciones falsas: Un análisis de los datos en Colombia, Perú y Chile
Policy Briefs
September 2020
By Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley, and Andrew Selee
Venezuelan Migration, Crime, and Misperceptions: A Review of Data from Colombia, Peru, and Chile
Policy Briefs
September 2020
By Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley, and Andrew Selee
Reports
September 2019
By Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, and Claudia Masferrer
Reports
September 2019
By Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, and Claudia Masferrer
EU Migration Partnerships: A Work in Progress
Reports
December 2017
By Elizabeth Collett and Aliyyah Ahad
Books
October 2016
By Kathleen Newland, Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper, and Sarah Flamm

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Sailors and marines on the HMS Bulwark help migrants ashore in Italy.

Even as the number of people making the dangerous journey through the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe has declined since the migration and refugee crisis of 2015-16, the rate of deaths has increased. This article evaluates the role of Europe's hardening approach to trans-Mediterranean migration and the criminalization of search-and-rescue operations by nongovernmental organizations.

Migrants aboard a rubber vessel are rescued in the Mediterranean

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

Migrants being smuggled in a car trunk are intercepted at U.S.-Mexico border

As highly industrialized countries ramp up their border controls, human smugglers are playing a central role in moving migrants through key migration corridors around the world. Despite the illicit nature of their work and being cast as villains in the public eye, smugglers have complex, multifaceted relationships with their clients. At times, the relationship can be mutually beneficial or even lifesaving; at others, it can be predatory and dangerous, as this article explores.

Boats along a river in the Darien Gap, Panama

Growing numbers of African and Asian migrants are moving through Latin America, many hoping to reach the United States or Canada after expensive, arduous, and often dangerous journeys that can take months or even years. As more extracontinental migrants transit through South and Central America, Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica have developed the most comprehensive policies to manage these flows, sometimes working in coordination with the U.S. government.

Somali migrants disembarking.

War and impending famine in Yemen have captured significant attention. Yet often overlooked is the country’s role as the epicenter of one of the world’s busiest mixed migration routes, linking Africa, Asia, and Europe. This article examines the migration pathways to and through the country, push and pull factors, and the impact of civil war on human movement.

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Commentaries
July 2019
By Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer, and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Commentaries
July 2019
By Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer, and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Commentaries
January 2019
By Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
Commentaries
February 2017
By Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
March 2016
By Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
September 2015
By Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
December 2014
By Kathleen Newland

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Explainers
April 2019

How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.

MovingBeyondPandemicMattHerbert
Expert Q&A, Audio
October 21, 2020

As COVID-19 chilled global mobility, harmed economies, and sparked border closures and travel bans around the world, the pandemic has had an effect on the shadow migration world.

Video, Audio
June 8, 2020

Following months of rising Central American migration through Mexico to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments on June 7, 2019 signed a joint declaration pledging to work together to manage and reduce irregular migration. At the agreement’s one-year anniversary, MPI researchers engaged in discussion with former U.S.

Andrew Selee, Veronica Escobar, Dan Crenshaw, Duncan Wood
Video
April 22, 2020

In this bipartisan discussion, two border-state members of Congress—Rep. Veronica Escobar and Rep. Dan Crenshaw—discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak, how it is affecting the interconnected border region, and what the future might hold.
 

Video, Audio
February 11, 2020

MPI llevó a cabo un seminario en línea para marcar el lanzamiento de: Un portal sobre Migración en América Latina y el Caribe; y un informe

Video, Audio
February 11, 2020

Fleeing crisis, nearly 4 million Venezuelans have moved to other Latin American and Caribbean countries over the past few years.

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Recent Activity

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 21, 2020

As COVID-19 chilled global mobility, harmed economies, and sparked border closures and travel bans around the world, the pandemic has had an effect on the shadow migration world. In this episode of our Moving Beyond Pandemic podcast, we speak with Matt Herbert, an expert in irregular migration and human smuggling, about how the public-health crisis has scrambled the decision-making calculus for would-be migrants, pushing many into more dangerous routes. We also examine the business models of human smugglers.

Articles

Even as the number of people making the dangerous journey through the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe has declined since the migration and refugee crisis of 2015-16, the rate of deaths has increased. This article evaluates the role of Europe's hardening approach to trans-Mediterranean migration and the criminalization of search-and-rescue operations by nongovernmental organizations.

Policy Briefs
September 2020

Más de 4 millones de venezolanos han migrado a otros países de América Latina y el Caribe, lo que ha generado preocupación sobre cómo estas llegadas están afectando a las comunidades receptoras. Algunos políticos y expertos han afirmado que la migración está provocando un incremento en la delincuencia, un argumento que este informe examina a través de un análisis detallado de los datos de Chile, Colombia y Perú.

Policy Briefs
September 2020

More than 4 million Venezuelans have moved to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, raising concerns about how these arrivals are affecting receiving communities. Some politicians and pundits have asserted that migration is leading to an increase in crime—a claim this issue brief finds misplaced based on examination of official data from Chile, Colombia, and Peru.

Articles

Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.

Video, Audio, Webinars
June 8, 2020

Following months of rising Central American migration through Mexico to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments on June 7, 2019 signed a joint declaration pledging to work together to manage and reduce irregular migration. At the agreement’s one-year anniversary, MPI researchers engaged in discussion with former U.S. and Mexican Ambassadors and a veteran journalist about the changes it has sparked. 

Video
April 22, 2020

In this bipartisan discussion, two border-state members of Congress—Rep. Veronica Escobar and Rep. Dan Crenshaw—discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak, how it is affecting the interconnected border region, and what the future might hold.
 

Video, Audio, Webinars
February 11, 2020

MPI llevó a cabo un seminario en línea para marcar el lanzamiento de: Un portal sobre Migración en América Latina y el Caribe; y un informe que examina los efectos de las políticas migratorias y de integración en 11 países en América Latina y el Caribe ante el aumento de la migración venezolana y nicaragüense.

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