Illegal Human Smuggling

Desperate refugees who risked their lives in the hands of smugglers, died recklessly.” These headlines often pop out on the front page of our newspapers but we hardly tend to notice. Thousands of refugees die each year, some drown, few of them are left injured, others perish in deserts but there are only a few cases which come to light. In this juggling race of everyday life do we ever think what makes people like us to endanger themselves at the stake of better life. There is one method which is considered to be the most ruthless of escaping one’s country and that is human smuggling.


First of all let’s understand what is human smuggling? It is the practice of mediators i.e (smugglers) who aid undocumented migrants in crossing international borders illegally for their own financial gains. It is the harsh process of transporting refugees from one country to another until they reach their destination. According to the report by UNODC, there were about 2.5 million migrants smuggled worldwide let alone in 2016 and the number is constantly rising with each year.

There must be a reason behind why some people choose to be refugees or under certain circumstances are forced to be so. They are categorised under three kinds. The first kind belongs to those who are financially unstable and seek for such kind of support which could enable them to fulfill the needs of their families. These people are inadequate to establish themselves in their mother country nor are successful in getting jobs. Therefore such individuals believe that they need to get settled in richer countries either by hook or by crook.

The second kind belongs to those countries who are politically disturbed and hence result in the deaths of hundreds of civilians each year. These people in virtual reality feel the need to escape their countries in order to live with freedom and their basic fundamental rights.

The third kind is a bit hard to believe, but these are the ones who get impressed by the foreign lifestyle. The mesmerising tales of rich countries are often narrated by the NR’s (non residents) of these countries, hence exaggerating everything they do and reflecting a sense of superiority. Thus people get influenced by them and want to try out new countries, more of like an adventure but most of the times become easy prey of smugglers because they do not anticipate the risk of choosing illegal way and the dangers they might encounter. The interesting fact is that these people live good lives in their motherlands but still under peer pressure are ready to become refugees.

The process of getting smuggled is quite long and risky, sometimes it even takes more than a year. The people are called “goods” and are often treated worst than animals. Mostly males are involved in this process in large groups ranging from nine to eighteen and are segregated in different groups. People usually get smuggled either in Europe or in North America depending upon their mother country. In order to go to any country of Europe from Asia one has to cross roughly five to six countries. On the other hand, to reach North America from Asia one has to go through approximately eight countries. One has to walk on the top of ice for kilometers, sometimes have to stay in a country for couple of days without food and water, and a times get detained if caught by border control police.

The smugglers earn about $6.75 billion dollars a year by exporting people.

The global figure is likely to be much higher. The refugees pay a big amount to the smugglers by lending loans from banks at high rate of interest or from landlords. The smugglers exploit refugees by charging way more than required and not fulfilling even their basic needs while smuggling. This process is carried down by a chain of smugglers. The refugees who once set out for their journey only have two options, either to continue at any condition or to die if they refuse to oblige. Their passports are often confiscated and destroyed. Under terror and fear refugees accept whatever they are asked to do so, which comes with the cost of both mental and physical abuse. Smugglers do great promises with the refugees, but in reality, can even leave them on their own in the midway, if they anticipate any danger to themselves.

In a nutshell, I would like to say that refugees go through extreme lengths in search for a better and opportunistic life but in reality the post effects stains on their minds and hearts forever leaving them vulnerable for the rest of their lives. They often suffer from PTSD, depression and anxiety. Their struggle for asylum after they reach their dream country is extremely tough and worth a lot of money. In short they are exposed to all kinds of harsh scenarios. To conclude I would like to say that it’s the time to address the issues around us and give a voice to all those buried and unheard stories.

Harsirat Kaur

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