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

  • Luca Raineri (a1)


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.


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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).
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IB: former Tuareg combatant now integrated in Niger's bureaucracy, Niamey, October 2015.
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YC: Tuareg NGO worker from Agadez, Tahoua, May 2016.

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

  • Luca Raineri (a1)


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