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Migrants trafficking and individual strategies: the formation of dynamic channels in international migration

Joao Peixoto, University of Lisbon

Migrants trafficking, considering its dual meaning of smuggling and trafficking, is currently a matter of much debate. The concepts and mechanisms of trafficking have been object of scrutiny and a growing (and demanding) research was developed, due to its quantitative dimension and the associated human and social problems. In this paper, a discussion of the current modalities of trafficking will be made, taking into account the vast expression that it acquires and its extremely dynamic character. The main empirical base is a recent research project carried out on migrants trafficking in Portugal, which considered both labour and sexual exploitation related flows. The underlying claim is that it is the conjunction of individual aspirations for migration, stringent migration policies and organised intermediary agents that lead to the surge of dynamic modalities for channelling flows. The fact that each agent actively interacts with the others explains the continuing changes in the process.

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Presented in Session 92: Irregular migration: measurement, determinants, consequences and policy implications