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Migrations, Human Smuggling And Human Trafficking

Mass and unregulated migration has sparked significant concerns - not only on the security level but on the humanitarian level as well.

Africa - Security & Conflict, Socio Economic - Format: PDF - Size: 775.66 KB - Date: May, 2020 - Pages: 20 - Copyright: NATO Strategic Direction South HUB - Tags: Irregular migration, Organised Crime, MENA

Over the last decade, mass and unregulated migration has sparked significant concerns in public opinion, particularly in Europe. While the number of new arrivals of migrants has sharply declined from its high of over one million in 2015, the movement and integration of those from across the Mediterranean remain today of major concern for Europe and, by extension, the Atlantic Alliance. Nonetheless, the development of a collective understanding among NATO members of the security implications of such migration for the wider Mediterranean region (including North Africa and Sahel) has not yet been achieved. Making the topic even more complex is the inclusion of the question of direct connections between migrants and terrorists in its framing of the issue.


In Africa, Human Smuggling usually entails irregular migration. Yet, it is also recognized that smugglers' services are often used even when they do not appear essential. For instance, in Western Africa, economic agreements permit people free border crossing but migrants habitually prefer to rely on smugglers instead of traveling alone and because they trust this will result in a less difficult and less dangerous trip. It is certainly possible for Human Trafficking to be linked to both types of migrations, regular and irregular. People can be exploited in order to pay for smuggler services or can also be exploited without any border crossing when they move within their own country or, indeed, without any movement at all. Moreover, when discussing smuggling, migration or trafficking, the shades of grey can seem to conceal one or other of the crimes and is very difficult to distinguish between them. 

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