Few topics have dominated news and public debate in Australia and around the world as the smuggling of migrants and the plight of refugees to reach safer shores. UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, estimates that in 2015, more than 60 million people are forcibly displaced and that every day more than 40,000 are added.
Since 1999, UQ law professor Andreas Schloenhardt has been at the forefront of global efforts to prevent and combat the smuggling of migrants. Working closely with international organisations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Council of Europe, Andreas has helped shape the worldwide response to this phenomenon.
“Restrictions placed on the free movements of migrants are playing into the hands of migrant smugglers” says Professor Schloenhardt.
“Taking advantage of those willing or forced to migrate, migrant smugglers create illegal ways of migration by using clandestine methods to transport people, supplying false documents, or harbouring illegal migrants.”
During their journeys smuggled migrants are often vulnerable to life-threatening risks and exploitation. Thousands of people have suffocated in containers, perished in deserts, or drowned at sea.”
In 2008, Andreas set up the Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking Working Groups to document and analyses these topics and work towards durable solutions for asylum seekers and labour migrants.
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