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16 Sep 2020

Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean - Chapter 18

Migrant smuggling in the Libyan context: re-examining the evidence
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This chapter examines the interactions between migrants and the facilitators of their journeys. It argues that European Union-centric concerns over irregular migration that attribute smuggling to organized criminal networks alone have led to simplistic views of mobility facilitation processes in Libya and beyond. The findings show that people behind migrants’ journeys are most often men, women and children from marginalized and
impoverished communities, who have historically relied on the provision of mobility and transportation services to generate income, and they do so to achieve their own mobility and/or migratory goals and to reduce the impact of poverty and disenfranchisement. Yet stricter border controls and migration enforcement efforts, coupled with the shortage of legal, safe and dignified paths for mobility, have led to the emergence of unequal, abusive and violent interactions between migrants and facilitators.