The myth of the people smugglers’ ‘business model’

Gabriella Sanchez
Research Fellow at the Border Crossing Observatory.

“The people smugglers business model is phrase that has entered the Australian political lexicon if only through sheer repetition.

It has barely left the lips of prime minister Kevin Rudd or immigration minister Tony Burke since the plan to send asylum seekers arriving by boat to Papua New Guinea, where they will be settled if found to be genuine refugees, was announced.

But what does this so-called business model look like? Indeed, does it even exist? Could it be that rather than having a simple “business model”, people smuggling is a more complex and fluid phenomenon that will prove immensely difficult, if not impossible, to stop?”

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