E.g., 06/05/2020
E.g., 06/05/2020

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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As Europe struggles to reach a consensus on how to respond to the refugee crisis, the seemingly unending flow of migrants and refugees arriving on its shores is bringing national asylum systems to their breaking point. This article analyzes the context of the crisis, discussing the root causes of the flows, why they are spiking now, and growing protection challenges.

From ongoing emigration flows and a surge in asylum seekers, to more than 150,000 returnees, this country profile examines contemporary and historical migration trends in Albania. Driven by extreme poverty and unemployment, more than one-third of Albania's population has emigrated in the last 25 years. The government now seeks to capitalize on diaspora resources by linking migration and development policies.

Though relatively unexplored, there are myriad links between migration and corruption. This article offers ten connections between migration and corruption, from the facilitation of illegal migration and humanitarian protection to impediments to development benefits. The migration-corruption nexus is examined in three case studies: human trafficking in Nigeria, police extortion in Latin America, and a Norwegian return scheme for Iraqi asylum seekers.

In 2014 governments in Europe, North America, and Australia reacted to significant mixed flows of humanitarian, economic, and family-stream migrants with a range of new policies. These came as some migrants presented themselves to authorities for processing rather than trying to evade U.S. or European border controls, with the knowledge that backlogs and little political will for the removal of vulnerable populations might allow them to stay for extended periods.

New migration patterns at the U.S. Southwest border, including a shift in border crossers from primarily Mexican men to Central American families, and from the California and Arizona borders to the Rio Grande Valley, have important implications for U.S. border policy and enforcement strategies, raising questions of what consequences might deter unauthorized Central Americans while still meeting international obligations to protect vulnerable migrants.

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Audio
July 8, 2015

This teleconference, the first in a series from MPI Europe on the future of asylum policy in the European Union, focuses on the politics and mechanics of asylum seeker relocation and whether a recent contentious European Summit represents a new phase of intra-EU cooperation on asylum.

Video, Audio
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

Video, Audio
October 21, 2014
This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.
Video, Audio
September 22, 2014

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, who assumed his duties in 2014, lays out his vision and discusses his priorities for the agency as part of MPI's Leadership Visions series.

Audio
June 25, 2014
The flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States has surged 90 percent since last year, with government officials predicting that it might reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September—and perhaps 130,000 next year. This telebriefing discusses factors behind the flows as well as short- and longer-term policy options for improving how the U.S. immigration system interacts with this population with distinct needs.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Smugglers and migrants adapted their paths in light of changing conditions in 2016, including the construction of walls and closure of borders. Cuban and Haitian migrants increasingly chose to make their way to the United States through South and Central America rather than by sea. Meanwhile, migrant flows to Europe have splintered into a wider range of routes, seeking new openings through the Western Balkans.

Video, Audio
October 27, 2016

Marking the release of All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, this book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration and the challenges governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations face in tackling this issue together. Presenters discuss the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis and movements across the Bay of Bengal/Andaman Sea, the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, and the waters around Australia; and the particular challenges for policymakers in each of these cases.

Books
October, 2016

With maritime migration the subject of significant policy and public focus in Europe, Australia, and beyond, this timely volume reviews the policy responses to irregular maritime arrivals at regional, national, and international levels. The book includes case studies of the major global hotspots—the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden, Bay of Bengal/Andaman Sea, Australia, and the Caribbean—and examines trends and policy responses.

Articles

Over the past several decades, in response to the uptick in spontaneous migration flows, there has been a surge in construction of border walls and fences. This trend begs several questions: Why now? Did border walls work in the past? Do they work today? This article examines the history of border barriers and assesses how effective they are at deterring unauthorized migration.

Audio
September 16, 2016

This discussion focuses on how governments and actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities for newcomers.

Reports
September 2016

Human displacement, asylum movements, refugee and stateless populations, and irregular labor migration flows have long posed challenges for Southeast Asia. This report analyzes migration flows in and through the region and the policy challenges and responses to these flows, particularly the May 2015 humanitarian crisis resulting from the maritime migration of Rohingya and Bengalis in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

Articles

Two years on, the Australia-Cambodia refugee relocation agreement—the first of its kind involving a traditional resettlement country relocating refugees to a country with no resettlement track record—has proven to be underwhelming in its outcomes. Only five refugees have been voluntarily relocated under the deal, of whom just one remains in Cambodia. This article explores where the deal went wrong and what lies ahead for Australia’s detained asylum seekers.

Articles

Movements of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean have shown to be highly fluid, adapting quickly to changing conditions at origin, transit, and destination. This article examines the shifts in flows across the three major Mediterranean routes since 2008 and the complex web of often interconnected factors underpinning these movements.

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