A dangerous journey. Photo Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)

The economics of human smuggling makes it nearly impossible to stop

Article in Quartz
25 August, 2017

Please note this paragraph: “It’s much better to offer alternatives. Land-based solutions are better than sea-based solutions, which are emergency measures. There are two possible broad sets of policies; one is a very restrictive policy where you close the borders before the sea crossing and monitor the coast. The other set of policy is humanitarian: setting up ways to relocate and allow legal movement into the European Union, without having to rely on the smugglers.” The first set of policies entrenches the smuggling rings. The second takes over their market. Many thanks to Rosa

Italy’s attempts to stem the flow of migrants have largely been ineffective. In one particularly embarrassing case, Italy claimed to have arrested a so-called “kingpin” of the human smuggling industry. But an investigation by The Guardian and New Yorker suggest the wrong person was arrested. (Despite the compelling evidence for a case of mistaken identity, Italian authorities refuse to release the man, even though they have yet to find a witness to testify against him.)

Paolo Campana, an organized crime researcher at the University of Cambridge in the UK, suggests looking for so-called kingpins is the wrong approach. That’s because the industry smuggling humans to Europe is a “quintessential free market,” he says. In such an open, unregulated market, there are no bosses or monopolies, he explains. Anyone is free to leave their job and enter the smuggling business, with no controls over territory.”

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