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Dr Paolo Campana's new article on migrant smuggling now published

last modified Feb 09, 2017 02:20 PM

Dr Paolo Campana's paper on migrant smuggling is now published in Policing.

The public discourse on human smuggling into the European Union often evokes the presence of a few all powerful ‘Mr Bigs’ who are able to ‘mastermind’ illegal operations. This article takes a closer look at the recent trends in relation to two key smuggling routes—the Eastern and the Central Mediterranean—with the aim to identify the analytical and empirical features of the markets for smuggling services. It shows that these markets have the ability to expand considerably and often over a short period of time. It then argues that this is consistent with the presence of many competitive enterprises, low barriers to entry, low skills and (relatively) low capital requirements. This is a far cry from how the public discourse is often framed. The costs to the smugglers of monitoring agents and clients are also likely to be modest—particularly in comparison with human trafficking. The article concludes by discussing some policy implications, including the adoption of land-based policies (regarded as more effective than naval operations) and a suggestion for a change in the terminology adopted in policy and intelligence reports.