This week, the UK government announced a “task force” to tackle people smugglers carrying migrants from Africa across the Mediterranean.
People smugglers and traffickers often endanger the lives of those they carry, packing too many people on to small or poorly-serviced vessels. As such, they have become a focus in governments’ efforts to combat the recent explosion in migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. But these gangs are just one link in a long and complex chain. People are driven to leave their home countries by war and other serious problems, and when they arrive at their destinations host governments are often at a loss as to what to do with them. Should those who carry these desperate people for part of their journey be our main focus in tackling this problem?
Bridget Anderson—Professor of Migration and Citizenship, COMPAS, University of Oxford