As Castles and Miller have rightly noted, we are living in an ‘Age of Migration’ (2003) and global mobility is on the rise. At the same time we are also witnessing increasing intensification of border control in various parts of the world. This has given rise to a global ‘industry’ that makes migration accessible to those whom States have identified as unauthorised migrants. The global migration industry involves all sorts of actors, including transnational criminal organisations, often referred to as human smugglers. Even though the body of academic literature on human smuggling is growing, the field (still) suffers from sensationalist media accounts, public and political agendas that want to ‘fight’ smuggling, and difficulties in generating data. The empirical work that is available on human smuggling is disciplinary bound, and often regionally focused or case study based. This chapter provides an overview of various disciplinary readings of the literature on human smuggling and identifies the gaps in the literature.
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