Andrea Di Nicola Elisa Martini Gabriele Baratto

Social smugglers. How social media are changing migrant smuggling

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The aim of this study is to understand the role of social media in migrant smuggling. It aims at highlighting if and how social media and digital technologies are modifying: a) the characteristics of criminal groups dedicated to migrant smuggling, i.e. the methods of criminal association, the structure of criminal groups, and the forms of collaboration among them; b) the smuggling of migrants as organized criminal activity; c) the social networks of migrants using the services provided by the smugglers. Research results suggest that social media are modifying, at least partially, both the characteristics of the criminal organizations involved in migrant smuggling, and the organization of criminal activities. Furthermore, social media are facilitating the migratory processes and reducing related costs and risks by connecting potential migrants, both among themselves and with those already in the destination countries.


  • Social Media
  • International Migration
  • Human Smugglers
  • Criminal Organizations


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