Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Human Smuggling

  • Joanne van der Leun
  • Richard Staring
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_630


The illegal movements of migrants across national borders have become a global issue. Human smuggling is defined as those activities that facilitate illicit crossing of national borders with consent of the individuals smuggled. It is therefore closely connected to international migration as such. The present entry discusses definitions as well as background factors and basic characteristics of the process of smuggling over time. Characteristics of human smugglers and those of smuggled migrants are presented. In addition, the ways in which states respond to the challenges of detecting and dealing with human smuggling are dealt with. The entry closes with a brief discussion of controversies and future directions including the paradox of combating human smuggling and tensions between migration control and crime policies.

Introduction: Human Smuggling and Its Definition

Human smuggling is currently often presented as one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide. A...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Faculty of LawLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Criminology, Faculty of LawErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands