by Gabriella Sanchez 

Migrant smugglers occupy a special place in the European ‘migration crisis’ discourse. They are depicted as the facilitators of irregular migrants’ journeys, and as criminals who take advantage of people’s vulnerability and naïveté. Stories of ruthless smugglers who abuse, abandon or even murder those who rely on their services are common in popular media, as well as in mainstream academic, policy and law enforcement narratives of migration.