‘Only God can stop the smugglers’ – Understanding human smuggling networks in Libya
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March 3rd, 2017
This country report examines the supply side of migration through Libya: the human smuggling networks. Human smuggling in Libya has many faces, and there is a dizzying array of actors that have a stake in keeping the market open. Actors directly involved in human smuggling include militias and brigades of which some are affiliated to state authorities, tribes, armed bandits and criminal gangs. Less obvious, however evenly important, are, for example, taxi drivers and hotel owners and even former university students. Others, including jihadist groups, profit indirectly from the thriving and lucrative business of smuggling humans. The set of relevant actors, their interests and affiliates differ per local political economy in which the smuggling takes place. Taken together, the various local political economies of Libya dictate how human smuggling is performed.