By its very nature, any treatment of irregular migration, asylum seekers, human trafficking and people smuggling is highly controversial. To avoid unnecessary controversy, this report focuses on the organisation and business models of the globe’s people-smuggling organisations, but the authors have maintained an explorative outlook.

This report has drawn together the work of authors from multiple disciplines to explore the global phenomenon that is people smuggling. While it’s expansive in its breadth and depth of coverage, it isn’t meant to be the definitive source on the subject. Rather, it has been developed to provide readers with a clear, concise and obtainable understanding of the issue and its complexity. The multidisciplinary approach means that each of the chapters explores a different geographical region or issue with a different methodological approach (ethnographic, explorative, legal). Understandably, such an approach exposes and brings together the many disconnects and inconsistencies in knowledge in this area of study. One particularly challenging dimension for this global body of research was dealing with the plethora of legal and non-legal terms used in public discourse on refugees and people smugglers.

The report is an exercise in applied research and analysis with a clear policy focus. While its analytical focus is global, its conclusions and recommendations have been made with Australian policymakers in mind.

ASPI wishes to acknowledge the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s financial support for its Border Security Program.

The department and the Australian Border Force were both kind enough to look over a preliminary draft of this report and provide valuable comments. Those comments helped to clarify a number of salient points, which improved the quality of the report in a number of areas. This does not in any way imply that either the department or the border force endorses this report or supports its conclusions.

This report was edited by John Coyne and Madeleine Nyst


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