The ethics of people smuggling

Journal of Global Ethics 12 (3):311-326 (2016)
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ABSTRACTPeople smugglers help transport migrants across international borders without authorization and in return for compensation. Many people object to people smuggling and believe that the smuggling of migrants is an evil trade. In this paper, I offer a qualified defense of people smuggling. In particular, I argue that people smuggling that assists refugees in escaping threats to their rights can be morally justified. I then rebut the objections that people smugglers exploit migrants, have defective motivations, and wrongly violate the law. My conclusion is that people smuggling is sometimes a permissible way of helping refugees to evade unjust immigration restrictions and compelling states to bear their fair share of the global refugee population.

Author's Profile

Javier Hidalgo
University of Richmond


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