Will Fighting Smuggling Reduce Migration?

Will Fighting Smuggling Reduce Migration?


If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that smugglers are bad, right? Not so fast. The narrative is certainly presented that way in the media, but the reality, as always, is more complicated. It’s easier for governments to demonise smugglers than to deal with the core issues that cause irregular migration. Nassim Majidi, a migration specialist with years of research with migrants and smugglers, gives us the comprehensive story.

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Recommended Reading & Viewing

This book by Peter Tinti (@petertinti), the result of years of research, is an intricate look at how smuggling networks function and have evolved and impacted migration over time. You can also have a read through this detailed summary, for a shorter version. 

A TED Talk by photojournalist Barat Ali Batoor from Afghanistan gives a moving account of what it was like to travel by boat with a human smuggler.

In this article by Nassim for Open Democracy in 2016, she explains in more detail how human smuggling is more than a profit-seeking criminal activity.

The Migration Policy Institute published a report in 2014 that offers a comparative perspective to human smuggling and trafficking into Europe.

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Nassim Majidi

Nassim is associate doctor at Sciences Po’s Centre for International Studies and the Co-Founder/Head of Migration Practice at Samuel Hall. Nassim conducts research into conditions in origin countries, studying questions like motivations for migration, migrant journeys, the role of smuggling, and post-return outcomes via Samuel Hall’s regional offices in Nairobi, Kabul, and Mogadishu.