What Does It Mean to Disrupt the Business Models of People Smugglers?
Despite the scaling-up of EU surveillance, enforcement measures and patrolling operations aimed at border security, the flow of irregular migrants towards Europe shows little sign of abating. This policy brief shows that border enforcement and barriers to mobility lead migrants to rely on clandestine mechanisms to reach destinations abroad, even if this involves significant risk. Policy interventions aimed at disrupting smuggling networks may make smuggling more lucrative and increase incentives for criminals to enter this market. In addition, more stringent border policies and practices can facilitate involvement by irregular migrants in human smuggling. The briefing concludes that ending irregular crossings is an unlikely outcome so long as emphasis is placed on security vectors alone. If the intended goal of security initiatives is the suppression of smuggling networks, they must be accompanied by structural, comprehensive approaches and solutions.