Despite the popular depiction as immoral and deceitful villains who do not hesitate to toss human beings into the sea or abandon them under the scorching desert sun, human smugglers’ services continue to be in high demand. Little is known about how human smugglers operate and the reasons why millions of people continue to rely on their services. Scholarly and mainstream understanding of human smuggling is often plagued with fragmented perspectives on the socio-cultural dynamics of the migratory journey, the facilitator-traveler relationship and their community dimensions. A truly effective answer to human smuggling requires a better understanding of the phenomenon. Based on data collected during extensive ethnographic research conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean route and the Central American corridor, this lecture aims to provide a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of human smuggling and the actors involved.
Dr. Luigi Achilli, European University Institute - Firenze (IT)
Luigi Achilli is a research associate at the Migration Policy Centre of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the UK. His work explores socio-political and cultural transformations in the Middle East. He conducts research on irregular migration and smuggling networks and refugees and refugee camps. He is currently researching the use of social media and technology among Middle Eastern migrants traveling into Europe. In 2017-2018 he will be researching the dynamics of smuggling networks along the US Mexico Border under a European Union funded fellowship. He is the co-editor along with Gabriella Sanchez and Sheldon Zhang of an upcoming issue from the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science on Migrant Journeys and Smuggling Networks.