Although human smuggling has long roots in Africa’s history, the birth of the modern migrant smuggling industry as a multi-million global business is much more recent, as is the current perception of the migrant smuggler as a highly organised criminal figure. The majority of smugglers are low-level operators who often come from the same community as their clients, making the industry an important source of community resilience. But as countries adopt a criminal justice approach to counter human smuggling, the risk to smugglers escalates, and the market professionalises. As risk rises, so does the price – and the danger – for migrants.
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