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Organised crime and the business of migrant trafficking : an economic analysis

Australian Institute of Criminology, Andreas Schloenhardt
10 November 1999 -

Andreas Schloenhardt


The trafficking of migrants to Australia, throughout the Asia-Pacific region and around the world has become a multi-billion-dollar business for criminal organisations. Over the last ten years, thousands of migrants have been moved illegally across international borders with the assistance of professional trafficking organisations.

This paper seeks to examine migrant trafficking organisations in light of the most recent theories and interpretations of organised crime - that is, the economic analysis of transnational criminal organisations. The aim of this paper is to identify more precisely the major features of migrant trafficking.

The paper provides an analysis of the organisational and operational patterns of migrant trafficking enterprises in the illegal market. The paper suggests that for the purposes of examining and elaborating countermeasures against trafficking, it is necessary to recognise the economic dimension of organised crime, and to consider trafficking in migrants as a business conducted by transnational criminal organisations.

Andreas Schloenhardt is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, School of Law. His PhD thesis is on "Trafficking in Migrants". Recent publications include "The Business of Migration - Organised Crime and Illegal Migration in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region" (1999) 21 (1) Adelaide Law Review.