What Pricing Tells Us About the Nature of the Smuggling Business

We are trying to combat an industry that we refuse to properly analyze, I explained via a blog on Refugees Deeply. More and better data on pricing and payments to smugglers could inform policies that actually reduce smugglers’ profits and provide for better migration planning. West Africans return to Niger from Libya on March 31, 2017. AFP/ISSOUF…

Libya: a patchwork state sewn together along trafficking lines

A series of airstrikes over the course of April 2017 in and around the town of Sebha in southwestern Libya have not made the international news.  But for Libyans they are extremely noteworthy.  Firstly, because they are the first airstrikes to target Sebha, the capital of the Libya’s Fezzan region, since the ‘liberation’ of Libya in 2011.  Secondly,…

People smuggling in Libya: You can’t bomb away a problem of economics

Europe seems to think force and arms are the solution to reducing people smuggling in the volatile and fluid Libya. Even Gaddafi knew better. Photo credit: Mark Shaw, Misrata 2012 Back in 2010, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi famously declared that if it weren’t for his rule in Libya, Europe would “turn black” with the “advance of millions of immigrants”.…

A Faustian approach to migration: how long can it hold?

The morally ambiguous deal that the EU has made with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop the surge of migrants across the Aegean is a mere 8 months old, and it is already failing on multiple fronts. The EU’s €6 billion pact was a Faustian agreement: it may have dampened down the extreme levels…

OP-ED: Organised crime has affected politics – but not in the way we have come to expect. Now is the time to build a new agenda.

Organised crime has always been connected to politics.  Yet three recent popular democratic elections have proved that we insufficiently appreciate how the undertow of illicit markets and criminal activities have dramatically shattered a set of established pillars of the current world order, and the traditional tools of democracy, law enforcement and multilateralism are struggling to…

An evolving threat: the two faces of Sahel terrorism

Terrorism watchers, particularly those in the Sahel region, tend to divide into two camps. First, there are those that see the emergence of terrorism in Africa to be a relative recent phenomenon that has come to prominence only in the last decade with the affiliation of AQIM and its various iterations to international terrorist movements.…