This report is a synthesis of the research conducted between May and December 2018 for the monthly briefs under the ‘Monitoring the Political Economy of Human Smuggling in Libya and the Greater Sahara’ project funded under the North of Africa and Sahel and Lake Chad windows of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

The project began in May 2018. However, this report benefits from prior research conducted by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, which enabled us to set the findings in the context of developments that have taken place in the geographies of interest since mid-2017. It follows and is a companion to ‘The Human Conveyor Belt – trends in human tracking and smuggling in post-revolution Libya’, a document that traces the rapid expansion of human smuggling and trafficking between 2011 and 2016.

The Human Conveyor Belt Broken

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Mark Micallef

Mark Micallef is an investigative journalist and researcher specialised on human smuggling and trafficking. He has been engaged with migration from Africa to Europe for over ten years and has reported extensively from Libya both before and after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddaf as well as during the 2011 revolution itself with dispatches from Benghazi, Ajdabija and Ras Lanuf during the rebels’ advance on Sirte, where Gaddafi was eventually found and killed. In 2015 he helped set up and direct Migrant Report, a specialised news website dedicated to migration. He also carried out in-depth research on human smuggling and trafficking with extended fieldwork in Libya, Turkey, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Formerly, the News Editor at The Times of Malta, Micallef spent a substantial part of his career investigating crime. Recent examples from 2014 saw him track down in the UK and Dubai two Maltese businessmen wanted for multi-million euro fraud. He is now an independent researcher and consultant.

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Rupert Horsley

Rupert is a Senior Analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime. Before joining the Global Initiative he was a freelance researcher broadly covering political risk in the MENA region. He also contributed to a number of large strategic communications projects investigating public opinion among difficult to access communities in the Middle East. Previously he worked as a security analyst for the BSOC, a private unit embedded with the Iraqi Army’s Basra Operations Command; and as an analyst for GPW, a boutique corporate investigations firm. He holds a BA in Arabic from SOAS, University of London, and an MPhil in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Cambridge.

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Alexandre Bish

Alex is a Senior Analyst at the Global Initiative researching smuggling and security dynamics in the Sahel. He is also doing a PhD in Security and Crime Science at UCL, funded by the UK’s Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). His research focusses on modelling the structure, activities and behaviours of smuggling networks operating between Niger and Libya.

Before joining the Global Initiative in 2017, Alex spent two years in Nigeria where he worked for the UNODC and the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS in Abuja, as a consultant on political and security matters. He holds an MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism from UCL and a BA (Hons) in European Studies from King’s College London.

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