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However, there is evidence that people smugglers continue to exploit irregular migrants along their journey, through threats and demands for additional fees. People smuggling — the issues. People smuggling syndicates are run like businesses, with extensive and complex networks. Migrant smuggling For centuries, people have left their homes in search of better lives. Willing migrants often rely on people smugglers to cross borders. The time between a migrant departing from home and arriving in their destination country may vary from days to several months, or even years. In some cases, smugglers force migrants to work for years in the illegal labour market to pay off the debts incurred as a result of their transportation.

Related news. Cutting the financial lifelines of criminal groups behind human trafficking and people smuggling 10 September Mauritania: Securing borders, building capacity 17 January Coordination and intelligence imperative against human trafficking and people smuggling 24 September Our site uses cookies to ensure technical functionality, gather statistics and enable sharing on social media platforms. OK Tell me more.

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Publication series Name Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship. Fingerprint smuggling. Latin America. Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship. Thus, the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol covers offences related to the facilitation of both illegal entry and illegal stay of foreigners or persons who are not permanent residents when this is done to obtain a financial or other material benefit. The criminalization of smuggling of migrants promoted by the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol does not aim at criminalizing migrants. The stated intention of the Protocol is to criminalize and prosecute those who smuggle others for gain, and not the migrants themselves.

Enabling of irregular stay by producing, procuring, providing or possessing fraudulent travel or identity documents or other illegal means. This commitment is demonstrated by the fact that, as of May , the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol had Parties; more than three quarters of all Member States. Ratification of the Protocol entails accepting the obligation to criminalize the conduct prescribed therein. However, as with most international treaties, considerable scope is left for Member States to implement the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol provisions in their national legislation.

Many countries have excluded this requirement from their legislation. A recent UNODC issue paper surveyed 13 countries of which 11 omitted the financial or other material benefit element from their base migrant smuggling offences. Absent a financial or other material benefit element in the relevant legislation, the act of helping a family member cross a border or rescuing migrants at sea and bringing them to shore for assistance without expectations of any benefit could be sufficient grounds for being prosecuted as a migrant smuggler.

From the little data available, however, it appears that such prosecutions are relatively rare. In practice, the absence of indications of financial gain for a suspected smuggler — particularly when this absence is coupled with clear evidence of humanitarian intent - appears to dissuade many countries from pursuing prosecutions. There is anecdotal evidence that family members and those assisting others to cross a border for humanitarian reasons have been prosecuted under migrant smuggling legislation in the European Union and in other traditional destination countries for smuggled migrants.

Research from the European Union has found that those involved in providing assistance to irregular migrants not only fear sanctions, but may also experience intimidation by some national authorities when carrying out their work.

Irregular Migration from Asia and Africa to Europe

The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants, However, harmonizing regional and national legal frameworks with the Protocol in relation to the benefit element could sharpen the focus on the criminals who prey on people in desperate situations. It could also reduce the fear of prosecutions or sanctions experienced by those involved in assisting them, and consequently, protect the rights of smuggled migrants.

Differences between migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons While trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants are often conflated, they are different crimes that require different responses with regard to the protection and assistance entitlements of trafficking victims and smuggled migrants.

In brief, the key differences pertain to: consent, purpose of exploitation, transnationality, the source of criminal profits, and the object of the crime.

How Human Smuggling and Trafficking into Europe is Carried Out Nowadays

Consent: The migrants are typically willing to migrate, and usually agree with the smuggler that a service will be provided against a certain fee. For trafficking victims, on the other hand, according to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Trafficking in Persons Protocol , consent is irrelevant for adult victims when threat or use or force, deception, abuse of a position of vulnerability or any other of the means mentioned in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol have been used for child victims, it is always irrelevant.

Purpose of the crime: The purpose of trafficking in persons is exploitation of the victim s.

The purpose of migrant smuggling is the facilitation of irregular entry or stay of a person in a country in which he or she is not a national or a permanent resident in order to obtain a financial or other material benefit. Transnationality: Migrant smuggling is per definition always transnational in that it involves irregular movement between at least two different countries. In trafficking in persons cases, the profits are typically generated by the exploitation of victims for example, through forced labour, sexual exploitation, or removal of organs.

Crime against what or whom: Migrant smuggling affects the sovereignty of States over their borders. Trafficking in persons is a crime against a person, the trafficked victim. In practice, however, some of these differences can and do sometimes become blurred. In real life, it is difficult to have all the elements to make clear distinctions between smuggling and trafficking cases. Migrants who believe to be smuggled might be deceived or coerced into situations of exploitation at some point of their movement, which may change the nature of the crime from smuggling to trafficking or result in both offences being committed at the same time.

The confusion between trafficking and smuggling can also lead to a failure to identify some migrants as victims of trafficking. States Parties to the Trafficking in Persons Protocol have an obligation to identify victims of trafficking to ensure that their rights are not further violated and that they can access assistance and protection measures, as appropriate.

Smuggling in the context of migration. The crime of migrant smuggling takes place in the broader context of international migration, and conceptual clarity of different terminology is crucial. Most international migration takes place according to established regulatory systems. The specificities of these procedures vary considerably. From a conceptual point of view, there is a marked difference between smuggling of migrants and irregular migration.

Smuggling of migrants describes the conduct of persons who facilitate irregular forms of migration for a financial or other material benefit, while irregular migration describes the conduct and status of the migrants themselves. Smugglers of migrants may not migrate with the migrants they are smuggling. Migrants who are smuggled are, at least in the moment of border crossing, irregular migrants, while not all irregular migrants have been smuggled. The total migrant population stock in a country includes regular as well as irregular migrants.

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Some migrants pertaining to both of these groups may have entered the country regularly, while others may have been smuggled across borders. Moreover, some migrants who were smuggled into the country may have subsequently obtained regular migration status, while others may have remained with an irregular status. As a consequence, some part of the regular migrant population present in a country at a given time may have been smuggled there some time before the migration status regularization took place.

Looking at migration flows, movements across borders are either regular or irregular. Irregular entries may or may not be facilitated by smugglers, so while all entries facilitated by smugglers are irregular, some irregular entries may not be associated with smuggling. Some migrants irregularly cross international borders on their own.

Migrant Smuggling: Irregular Migration from Asia and Africa to Europe by Anna Triandafyllidou

Refugees are persons who have been forced to flee their country to preserve life or freedom, with an entitlement to international protection. According to international law,j persons who suffer persecution in his or her country have the right to seek asylum in other countries. Since procedures to apply for and access refugee status are normally carried out at destination, some refugees engage the services of migrant i. The boundaries and overlaps between regular, irregular and smuggled migrants differ when considering a population that has made a migration movement and is living in a destination country at a given point in time stock and movements across borders within a time period flow.

Smuggling of migrants

Overlaps between the populations stocks of regular and irregular migrants and migrants who were smuggled at some point in time. The Study also identifies major smuggling routes, which affect all regions of the world and provides specific information on each route.


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Methodology and sources of information. Irregular border crossings Regular border crossings No smuggling involved Entries facilitated by smugglers. In addition, the costs of smuggling and the urgency of their move may leave them vulnerable to abuse and in the most severe cases to trafficking situations. The Study is based on a comprehensive review of available data and information on migrant smuggling across the world. Efforts were made to collate as much quantitative and qualitative information from official national and international sources as possible.

The starting point of the study was a mapping exercise. This involved dividing the world in four macro-regions — Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe — and making information assessments to demarcate the most relevant smuggling routes within each region. Due regard was given to ensure broad geographical coverage. The Study is divided into two chapters. Cross-cutting themes such as the role of smuggling hubs, the various risks faced by smuggled migrants and the fees paid for smuggling are analysed from a global perspective. Chapter 1 also includes a first attempt at generating a rough estimate of the number of migrants smuggled worldwide and the profits made by smugglers.

A wide range of open-source information from international organizations, national authorities, research institutions and non-governmental organizations was consulted for the preparation of the Study. Priority was given to data from governmental institutions — such as national statistics offices, law enforcement authorities, migration departments and border guards — in areas where such information could be found. Where no official information was availl. Much of the quantitative data presented in the Study do not relate only to migrant smuggling offences or solely to migrants who have been smuggled, but they were used together with other contextual information to inform the understanding of smuggling, not to quantify it.

For this reason, such data is generally presented with descriptive wording reproduced from the original source as well as caveats in the accompanying analysis.


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  6. This is particularly relevant for the sections on the magnitude of migrant smuggling. Smuggling of migrants is a crime that affects virtually all countries in the world. Some countries are origins of migrants that are further smuggled, others are destinations, or transit areas. Smuggling operations take place across a wide range of countries. There is a myriad of routes used to smuggle migrants, some changing rather quickly. For this study, more than 30 main smuggling routes were identified.

    Migrant Smuggling: Irregular Migration From Asia and Africa to Europe (review)

    They only represent what is known to law enforcement, researchers and other actors who have studied smuggling of migrants in different parts of the world. However, for some routes, previous years were considered. In addition, in , large numbers of migrants were smuggled from West Africa and the Horn of Africa into North Africa about , per year and smuggled into Europe along the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes about , per year.

    Aggregating the estimates for the routes into North Africa and Europe may result in double-counting of the same migrants smuggled along two different routes. The numbers should be considered as an indication of the overall scale of the smuggling phenomenon along the stated routes. The number of migrants smuggled and the revenues for the smugglers were calculated when enough information was available to generate such estimates on solid ground.

    For example, the scale of smuggling of migrants into and within South America and in vast parts of Asia, remain unknown. Similarly, there are no estimates on the smuggling of migrants by air in different parts of the world. The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United.