Anti-Smuggling Policies and their Intersection with Humanitarian Assistance and Social Trust

Principal Investigator

Dr. Sergio Carrera

Research Institution

Queen Mary University of London (School of Law)

Project Summary

The Project examines from a cross-disciplinary perspective EU anti-smuggling laws, polices and operational practices and their social effects over the provision of humanitarian assistance by NGOs and citizen volunteers to migrants and asylum seekers.

Smuggling of human beings has become a key priority action in the wider EU policy agenda on transnational organized crime. The European humanitarian and political crisis on refugees has brought policies against migrant smuggling to the fore of policy agendas, and unprecedented budgets are being dedicated to this arena by countries including the UK. 

More knowledge and facts-based policies are needed as regards the effects of criminalisation of facilitation of entry and residence on irregular immigrants and asylum-seekers and on the work of NGOs and volunteers, and the extent to which alternative and multidisciplinary approaches are better suited to effectively address smuggling without undermining fundamental rights and social trust-based relations

This Project aims at developing this knowledge by mapping the field of ‘anti-smuggling policy’ agencies and their priorities, approaches and activities, in the production of knowledge about smuggling. It will provide a bridge between current EU policies and actors and the experiences, views and testimonies of civil society organisations and volunteers. 

This will allow for a better understanding of the scope, nature and effectiveness of current national and EU policy approaches and priorities. 


This project will ensure that the beneficiaries extend beyond the academic communities and cover key EU and national policy makers and law enforcement, border and military practitioners engages in different ways and forms in anti-smuggling policies. It will engage in a structured dialogue with these communities in an attempt to bridge the research results to policy relevant discussions on ways to counter smuggling. 

Contact Information

For further information, please email Sergio at