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Comparing and contrasting the war on drugs and the emerging war on migrant smugglers

Knowledge Platform

Comparing and contrasting the war on drugs and the emerging war on migrant smugglers

There are those who seek to apply the experience of the war on drugs to the emerging war on migrant smugglers to warn that such a confrontation carries high costs, low chances of success and would likely lead to an escalation of violence against the migrants themselves. Such arguments suggest we should learn from the war on drugs’ failures, and design different policy and criminal justice responses to irregular migration and human smugglers so as not to repeat past and ongoing failures. This research report examines this hypothesis; that the war on drugs is analogous to the war on migrant smuggling and that the lessons derived from the war on drugs are applicable to current policy makers around migration. Using a compare-and-contrast analysis it looks at the intrinsic aspects of the commodities themselves (substances vs migrants), the dynamics and modalities of the respective illicit economies, the lessons learnt from the war on drugs, the policy environment and implications of using alternative approaches, namely ‘legalising’ drugs and/or new approaches, inter alia, towards decriminalizing irregular migration.

Fecha de publicación
Tipo de material
Destinatarios
General Public
Fuente/Editorial
Idioma
Ámbito geográfico
Grupo de trabajo
No
Proceso de revisión regional
No
Objetivos del Pacto Mundial para la Migración
Palabras clave
Smuggling of migrants
Status
Published

Comparing and contrasting the war on drugs and the emerging war on migrant smugglers

There are those who seek to apply the experience of the war on drugs to the emerging war on migrant smugglers to warn that such a confrontation carries high costs, low chances of success and would likely lead to an escalation of violence against the migrants themselves. Such arguments suggest we should learn from the war on drugs’ failures, and design different policy and criminal justice responses to irregular migration and human smugglers so as not to repeat past and ongoing failures. This research report examines this hypothesis; that the war on drugs is analogous to the war on migrant smuggling and that the lessons derived from the war on drugs are applicable to current policy makers around migration. Using a compare-and-contrast analysis it looks at the intrinsic aspects of the commodities themselves (substances vs migrants), the dynamics and modalities of the respective illicit economies, the lessons learnt from the war on drugs, the policy environment and implications of using alternative approaches, namely ‘legalising’ drugs and/or new approaches, inter alia, towards decriminalizing irregular migration.


*Todas las referencias a Kosovo deben entenderse en el contexto de la Resolución 1244 [1999] del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas.