HUMAN SMUGGLING ACROSS KENYA-ETHIOPIA BORDER

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Due  to  the  low  levels  of  investigation,  prosecution  and  conviction  of  human  smuggling especially across Kenya Ethiopia border there has been an increase in number of humans being smuggled from Ethiopia through Kenya to South Africa and to some extent Kenyans being smuggled  through  Ethiopia  to  places  like  Libya.  It  was  in  lieu  of  this  that  the  researcher undertook study on the processes, magnitude and tactics used by smugglers to smuggle immigrants and examined social economic impact of human smuggling so as to provide various mechanisms in dealing with it. To achieve this, the research employed  qualitative research design  and a case study (Kenya Ethiopia border) was adopted. The population of research included the illegal migrants, the border officials in both countries and finally the smuggling facilitators and brokers. Snowballing sampling was used for the immigrant and the smugglers whereas purposive sampling used for the other group of population. The data were collected through  in-depth  interview,  key  informant  interviews  and  telephone  interviews  as  well  as sourcing secondary data to get policy related information. The study found that that youth aged between  22  years  to  34years  are  smuggled  from  southern  Ethiopia  by  a  smuggling  cartel operating from border town of Moyale through Nairobi. The findings established the main route for  smuggling  Ethiopians  from  Moyale  is  through  Moyale-Marsabit-Isiolo  highway,  then Moyale-Wajir Route through Bosnia and other undesignated roads known to the facilitators. Different tactics were employed to secure safe border passages through fake passport, Kenyan birth certificates, medical referral form and finally through bribing of officials. Lorries and trucks with hidden compartments were used to transport the smuggled migrants. Smuggling has impacted the countries involved by draining the productive labour from the source country and causing destabilization of labour market in destination country in addition to security threat and high cost of repatriation. The migrants were also faced with various difficulties in the process and among them is congestion and over-crowding which has led to death and abandonment by the smugglers. The study concluded that the vulnerability of migrants has been fueled by push factors  such  as  poverty,  diaspora  influence  and  availability of  smuggling  cartel  to  provide services, the smugglers are pulled to smuggling due to low investment opportunity and availability of corrupt official who work in cohort with the smugglers to facilitate the operation. The study recommended three major strategies on curbing the smuggling menace and these are through deterrence of smuggling, protecting the smuggled migrants, and prosecuting the smuggling cartel.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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