Human smuggling facilitators in the US Southwest

Gabriella Sanchez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter examines the social organization of human smuggling groups along the United States (US)-Mexico border. The men and women of smuggling have diverse backgrounds, and work on an ad-hoc, temporary basis facilitating the extra-legal crossings of migrants across the US-Mexico border. The chapter reveals no indication of smuggling participants responding to any kind of centralized, hierarchical leadership. Furthermore, and contrary to popular belief, no evidence of collaboration was found between human smuggling groups and transnational organized crime. Instead, facilitators operate locally, recirculating the income generated by smuggling into the local economies, and in so doing supplementing the income they generate through their full-time employment in the legal economy in an attempt to reduce the socio-economic marginalization that working-class communities along borders have experienced historically. The chapter also explores the likelihood of a connection between human smuggling groups and other networks or organizations involved in other forms of criminal activity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook on Crime and International Migration
EditorsSharon Pickering, Julie Ham
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780415823944
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this