Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Human smuggling across Niger: state-sponsored protection rackets and contradictory security imperatives

  • Luca Raineri (a1)
Abstract

In recent years, Niger has gained prominence as a hub for the smuggling of migrants from West Africa to North Africa and Europe. Urged on by European concerns, Niamey has adopted repressive measures to contain such migrations in the region. These, however, have largely failed, and have yielded unintended and unexpected results, which challenge policy predictions. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the article suggests that contradictory security imperatives have brought about the de facto regularisation of human smuggling. As a result, protection rackets sponsored by the state through patronage networks have severely limited the impact of externally sponsored measures to counteract irregular migration.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: rai_neri@hotmail.com
References
Hide All
Adler-Nissen, R. 2015. ‘What's the theory in International Practice Theory?’, International Studies Quarterly Online. <http://www.isanet.org/Publications/ISQ/Posts/ID/4959/Whats-the-Theory-in-International-Practice-Theory>, accessed February 2017.
Andersson, R. 2014. Illegality, Inc.: clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Andreas, P. & Nadelmann, E.. 2006. Policing the Globe: criminalization and crime control in international relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Arnaud, C. 2016. ‘Jeunesses sahéliennes: dynamiques d'exclusion, moyens d'insertion’, AFD Notes Techniques 15. Paris, March.
Brachet, J., Choplin, A. & Pliez, O.. 2011. ‘Le Sahara entre espace de circulation et frontière migratoire de l'Europe’, Hérodote 142, 6: 163–82.
Buzan, B., Wæver, O. & de Wilde, J.. 1998. Security: a new framework for analysis. London: Lynne Rienner.
Campana, P. 2017. ‘The market for human smuggling into Europe: a macro perspective’, Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, doi: 10.1093/police/paw058.
Claudot-Hawad, H. 2008. ‘Un territoire bâti comme une tente nomade’, Réfractions 21, 1: 5160.
Council of the European Union. 2003. European Security Strategy. A secure Europe in a better world. Brussels, December.
Council of the European Union. 2015. Special meeting of the European Council – Statement. Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Council meeting. Brussels, 23 April.
Danish Demining Group. 2014. Evaluations des Risques Sécuritaires aux Frontières. Région du Liptako-Gourma: Mali, Burkina et Niger. Copenhagen, July.
Danish Refugee Council (DRC). 2016. Forgotten fatalities: the number of migrants’ deaths before reaching the Mediterranean. Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative. Copenhagen, June.
Ellis, S. 2009. ‘West Africa's International Drug Trade’, African Affairs 108, 431: 171–96.
El Kamouni-Janssen, F. 2017. Only God can stop the smugglers. Understanding human smuggling networks in Libya. Clingendael Report. Den Haag, February.
Frontex. 2017. Central Mediterranean Route <http://frontex.europa.eu/trends-and-routes/central-mediterranean-route/>, accessed March 2017.
Grégoire, E. 2013. ‘Islamistes et rebelles touaregs maliens : alliances, rivalités et ruptures’, EchoGéo <http://echogeo.revues.org/13466>, accessed July 2016.
Il Sole 24 Ore . 2017. ‘Migranti: 5mila salvati, sbarchi a quota 73mila (+14%)’. 27.6.2017.
International Crisis Group. 2017. Le Niger face à Boko Haram: au-delà de la contre-insurrection. Rapport Afrique 245. Dakar: ICG.
International Organization of Migration. 2014. Fatal Journey: tracking lives lost during migration. Geneva: IOM.
International Organization of Migration. 2016 a. Analysis: flow monitoring surveys the human trafficking and other exploitative practices prevalence. Reporting Period: May 2016 – September 2016. Geneva: IOM.
International Organization of Migration. 2016 b. Compilation of Available Data and Information. Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean and Beyond. Geneva: IOM.
Kohl, I. 2013. ‘Afrod, le business touareg avec la frontière : nouvelles conditions et nouveaux défis’, Politique Africaine 132: 139–59.
Lewis, D. 2014. ‘Special Report: despite deaths, crackdown, Sahara migrant trail thrives’, Reuters, 15.5.2014.
Makarenko, T. 2004. ‘The crime-terror continuum: tracing the interplay between transnational organised crime and terrorism’, Global Crime 6, 1: 129–45.
Malakooti, A., Benattia, T. & Armitano, F.. 2015. Irregular Migration Between West Africa, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Paris-Abuja: Altai Consulting.
Ministero dell'Interno. 2016. Statistiche e documentazione anni 1990–2016. Dipartimento Immigrazione, <http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.interno.it/dipim/export/sites/default/it/assets/statistiche/2013_10_14_Quaderno_statistico_per_gli_anni_1990_-_2014_-.pdf>, accessed August 2016.
Molenaar, F. 2017. Irregular migration and human smuggling networks in Niger. Clingendael Report. The Hague: February 2017.
Olivier de Sardan, J.-P. 2015. ‘Les quatre prisons du pouvoir au Niger’, Le Républicain, 31.12.2015.
Polese, A., Russo, A. & Strazzari, F.. 2018. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: exploring boundaries between the informal, the criminal and the immoral. London: Palgrave.
Raineri, L. 2015. Il Miracolo della Pax Mafiosa in Niger. Limes 12, 2015: 8394.
Reitano, T. 2015. ‘A perilous but profitable crossing: the changing nature of migrant smuggling through sub-Saharan Africa to Europe and EU migration policy (2012–2015)’, European Review of Organised Crime 2, 1: 123.
Reitano, T. & Shaw, M.. 2014. ‘People's perspectives of organised crime in West Africa and the Sahel’, ISS Paper 254. Dakar, April.
Reitano, T. & Tinti, P.. 2015. ‘Survive and advance: the economics of smuggling refugees and migrants into Europe’, ISS Paper 289. Dakar, November.
Sahan/IGAD. 2016. Human Trafficking and Smuggling on the Horn of Africa–Central Mediterranean Route. Nairobi, February.
Saley, O. & Fodou, A.. 2016. ‘Niger: plus de 1500 migrants passent par Tourayate, chaque semaine’, Sahelien.com, 9.6.2016. <http://sahelien.com/blog/niger-agadez-plus-de-retours-que-de-departs-de-migrants/>, accessed March 2017.
Sandor, A. 2016. ‘Border security and drug trafficking in Senegal: AIRCOP and global security assemblages’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 10, 4: 490512.
Schapendonk, J. 2012. ‘Turbulent trajectories: African migrants on their way to the European Union’, Societies 2, 2: 2741.
Scheele, J. 2012. Smugglers and saints of the Sahara: regional connectivity in the twentieth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shaw, M. & Kemp, W. 2012. Spotting the Spoliers: a guide to analyzing organized crime in fragile states. New York, NY: International Peace Institute.
Shaw, M. & Reitano, T. 2013. ‘The evolution of organised crime in Africa’, ISS Paper 244. Pretoria, April.
Shaw, M. & Mangan, F. 2015. ‘Enforcing “our law” when the state breaks down: the case of protection economies in Libya and their political consequences’, Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 7, 1: 99110.
Siegfried, K. 2017. ‘Exclusive: EU migrant policy in Africa built on incorrect Niger data’, IRIN News, 31.1.2017. <https://www.irinnews.org/news/2017/01/31/exclusive-eu-migrant-policy-africa-built-incorrect-niger-data>, accessed February 2017.
Snyder, R. & Duran-Martinez, A.. 2009. ‘Does illegality breed violence? Drug trafficking and state-sponsored protection rackets’, Crime Law and Social Change 52, 3: 253–73.
The Guardian . 2015. ‘UN says 800 migrants dead in boat disaster as Italy launches rescue of two more vessels’, 20.4.2015.
The New York Times . 2017. ‘Why more migrants are dying in the Sahara’, 22.8.2017.
Tidjani Alou, M. 2012. ‘Monitoring the neopatrimonial state on a day-by-day basis: politicians, customs officials and traders in Niger’, in Bach, D. & Gazibo, M., eds, Neopatrimonalism in Africa and Beyond. New York, NY: Routledge.
Tinti, P. & Westcott, T.. 2016. ‘The Niger–Libya corridor: smugglers’ perspectives’, ISS Paper 299. Dakar, November.
Toaldo, M. 2015. ‘Migrations through and from Libya: a Mediterranean challenge’. IAI Working Papers 15. Rome, May.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2015. The sea route to Europe: the Mediterranean passage in the age of refugees. Geneva: UNHCR.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2017. Italy Country Update – December 2016. Geneva: UNHCR.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC). 2011. The Role of Organized Crime in the Smuggling of Migrants from West Africa to the European Union. Vienna: UNODC.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 2013. Criminalité Transnationale Organisée en Afrique de l'Ouest: Une Evaluation des Menaces. Vienna: UNODC.
Utas, M., ed. 2012. African Conflict and Informal Power: big men and networks. London: Zed Books.
Van der Lijn, J. 2017. For the Long Run: a mapping of migration-related activities in the wider Sahel region. Clingendael Report. The Hague, February.
Wehrey, F. 2017. Insecurity and Governance Challenges in Southern Libya. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Wood, E.J. 2006. ‘The ethical challenges of field research in conflict zones’, Qualitative Sociology 29, 3: 307–41.
AH: representative of Niger's coalition of human rights defenders, Niamey, September 2015 and May 2016.
AM: spokesperson of the local authorities of the region of Agadez, September 2017 (remote interview).
BT: representative of the Bureau des Trafiquants in Agadez, May 2016 (remote interview).
CN: member of a Nigerien para-judicial body dealing with human rights, Niamey, October 2015.
HM: professor of human geography of the University of Niamey, Niamey, May 2016.
IB: former Tuareg combatant now integrated in Niger's bureaucracy, Niamey, October 2015.
IC: Nigerien unionist and social worker, now employed in an NGO dealing with children rights, Tahoua, May 2016.
KL: EU officer dealing with Libya, Brussels, January 2017 (remote interview).
KP: criminal prosecutor, member of the anti-terrorism and anti-OC pool, Niamey, September 2015
MD: Gao resident, former migrant in Libya and current humanitarian actor working to rescue stranded migrants, Bamako, April 2016.
MS: member of the Nigerien armed forces, anti-terrorist units deployed in Tillabéry and Diffa, Niamey, October 2015.
NN: EU officer dealing with Niger, Niamey, September 2015 and May 2016.
PF: EU officer dealing with Libya, Tunis, January 2017 (remote interview).
SB: EU officer dealing with Niger, Niamey, May 2016.
SG: captain of Niger's gendarmerie in the region of Tahoua, Tahoua, May 2016.
SF: IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix officer, posted in Sicily, June 2017.
TB: member of a Nigerien civil society organization dealing with migration, Niamey, September 2015; and May 2016.
WA: representative of Niger's local chapter of Transparency International, Niamey, September 2015.
YC: Tuareg NGO worker from Agadez, Tahoua, May 2016.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed