Survive and advance: The economics of smuggling refugees and migrants into Europe


Click here to watch the video 'The road most travelled'

Click here to see the Infographic 'The business of migrant smuggling'

Violent conflicts, terrorism, long-standing repressive regimes, chronic poverty and inequality have driven an unprecedented number of refugees and migrants to Europe. Those making the journey are assisted by an increasingly violent and opportunistic smuggling industry. Sustainable profits made by this industry have allowed transnational networks to develop where they previously did not exist, with serious implications for human security and state stability.

Effective responses will require an understanding of the drivers and dynamics of the crisis. This understanding should be sufficiently nuanced to recognise that each journey of migration is defined by the ethnicity, income level and country of origin of the migrants, as well as by a highly responsive smuggling industry.

About the authors

Tuesday Reitano heads the secretariat at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime and is a senior research consultant for the Institute for Security Studies. Tuesday has extensive experience as a policy specialist in the UN. She serves as an independent expert advisor to the EU and the European Parliament on illicit migration, and is the lead author of a 2015 OECD study on the smuggling of migrants from Africa to Europe. She is based in Beirut.

Peter Tinti is a research fellow at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime and an investigative journalist. In 2013, Action on Armed Violence included him in its list of the top 100 most influential journalists covering armed violence. He has reported from the Sahel since 2008, where he interviewed smugglers, traffickers and affected communities. He has spent much of 2015 travelling along migrant routes from Africa to Europe.


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