Human smuggling is defined simply as the importation of individuals into a country via the deliberate evasion of that country’s immigration laws. Human smuggling has increased as an international problem in recent years, and currently accounts for a significant percentage of illegal migration. One of the difficulties in human smuggling is that the person being smuggled frequently consents to the smuggling.
People who seek out being smuggled into another country are often escaping from a serious situation, such as poverty or conflict. Many of these people are poor and uneducated, and are therefore taken advantage of by criminal syndicates. Human smuggling is a sophisticated industry, with well-established routes and routines. For example, there is a brisk pipeline of human smuggling into the United States from Mexico, or from Western Asia through Turkey and Greece.
There are specific terms used to describe human smugglers. “Snakehead” refers to those illegally transporting migrants from China into the United States and other Western nations. “Coyote” refers to smugglers crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Often, victims of human smuggling are sold into sexual slavery, forced to work as prostitutes in order to pay off the cost of smuggling them into the other nation, a debt they can never pay off. Human smuggling is a problem in nearly every country on Earth.