Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 203–233 | Cite as

Organized crime and the business of migrant trafficking

  • Andreas Schloenhardt


The trafficking of migrants around the world hasbecome a multi-billion-dollar business for criminalorganisations. Over the last ten years, thousands ofmigrants have been moved illegally acrossinternational borders with the assistance ofprofessional trafficking organisations.The increasing number of people forced or willing tomove abroad as well as the restrictions placed onlegitimate migration systems have translated intoorganized crime. Around the world, traffickingorganisations have learned to take advantage of thisstructural inequality, creating sophisticated channelsof illegal migration while exploiting those forced orwilling to migrate.This article seeks to examine traffickingorganisations in light of the most recent theories andinterpretations of organized crime, that is theeconomic analysis of transnational criminalorganisations. With respect to the elaboration offuture countermeasures on national, regional andinternational levels, the aim of this article is toidentify more precisely the major organisational andoperational features of the migrant traffickingbusiness.The article begins with an introductory discussion ofthe economic approach to organized crime in part 1.Part 2 analyses the illegal market in which criminalorganisations, in particular traffickers, operate.This provides the working basis for the examination ofthe migrant trafficking organisation in part 3 of thearticle.


Organize Crime International Relation Economic Approach Recent Theory Migration System 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Schloenhardt
    • 1
  1. 1.Law SchoolThe University of Adelaide SchoolAdelaideAustralia (email

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