Jointly with the Institute for Security Studies, the Global Initiative published At the edge (Nov 2016) as part of a research project on human smuggling from Africa to Europe, funded by the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF). Our research team sat down with smugglers themselves in Libya, Turkey, in the Sahel and in Sub-Saharan Africa to understand who are the smugglers behind Europe’s migration crisis, to understand how they operate, what drew them into the trade, and how they are responding to international community efforts to end illicit migration.

In 2015, over 16,000 Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans were caught while attempting to migrate to Europe covertly. Though North Africans are a relatively small portion of the masses of clandestine migrants, they are a critical group to understand. They are the innovators and early adaptors of new methods and routes for migrant smuggling, such as their pioneering in the 1990s and 2000s of the routes across the Mediterranean that now fuel Europe’s migration crisis. Understanding how and why North Africans migrate, the routes they use, and how these are changing, offers insights into how clandestine migration methods and routes in general may shift in the coming years. In shaping better responses to actual dynamics, it is important for countries to proactively address the chronic conditions that drive forced migration before they generate social instability.

At the edge - Trends and routes of North African clandestine migrants

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Matt Herbert

Matt is a Senior Ana­­­­lyst with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. He is a specialist in fragility and stabilization, with a focus on security sector reform and governance, border security, transnational organized crime, and irregular migration.

He has worked on security sector reform, irregular migration, and organized crime issues in North and West Africa, consulted on security, development, and public health issues in East Africa, worked on transnational organized crime for the state of New Mexico, and served as a policy aide to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

He has authored a number of articles and reports on transnational organized crime, irregular migration, border security, and insurgency with organizations such as the Institute for Security Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Atlantic Council, Washington Post, and U.S. Institute of Peace

Matt holds a PhD in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, with a sub-specialization in security studies and law & development. He has a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from the same institution, and a joint Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts from The College of Santa Fe.

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