The smuggling of migrants involves the movement of human beings whose life, freedom, and safety are frequently at risk and who are vulnerable to exploitation by their smugglers and others.  In many instances, smuggled migrants are found in situations of emergency, exposed to the elements, dehydration, suffocation, and drowning.  When apprehended by authorities, they may be in urgent need of shelter, food, and basic medical care.  Smuggled migrants are particularly vulnerable if they reside in the host country illegally or clandestinely, and if they do not speak the local language and are unfamiliar with local procedures and customs.  

For these reasons, it is important that international and domestic frameworks protect the fundamental rights and liberties of smuggled migrants, and that any action taken against the smuggling of migrants adheres to the principles of international human rights law.