Difference Between Smuggling and Trafficking

Smuggling vs Trafficking

Though, smuggling and trafficking are illegal activities that can take place in drugs, gold, arms, or even humans, it is human smuggling and trafficking that have been a cause of grave concern for the authorities of late. Whereas, smuggling is the facilitation, transportation or illegal entry of persons across an international border, trafficking does not necessarily involve movement of humans across borders. Though, there are cases of trafficking where human beings are illegally sent to other countries, human trafficking is a much more severe crime than human smuggling. There are some similarities yet many differences that will be highlighted in this article.

Talking about US in particular, as it is one nation that is considered by millions to be a land of dreams, hundreds of thousands of migrants are sent across borders to enter the boundaries of the country without any legal papers. Yet, put of so many, only about 20000 per year are termed by the authorities as cases of human trafficking. This fact is enough to tell us that trafficking is a crime, which though included in human smuggling, is a special type where there is exploitation of the rights of the persons smuggled. So, while smuggling is mainly a crime against a state, trafficking is a crime against persons as they are victims of coercion and exploitation. Nations, and before them international organizations, fight in unison against both human smuggling and human trafficking. The difference in this fight lies in the fact that, whereas it is sovereignty of nations that is sought to be protected in case of human smuggling, it is actually a fight against violation of human rights in the case of human trafficking.

While human smuggling involves the consent of the migrant and is purely commercial in nature, the consent of the person is not important in human trafficking. It is exploitative in nature. While crossing of borders is a prerequisite in human smuggling, trafficking is said to have taken place even inside borders; people are duped and sold or bought for purposes that are not dignified.

People in poor countries are attracted to rich nations, as they believe they can earn better money, and lead a better life in the foreign country than their own country. This is why, they are ready to pay huge sums of money to smugglers who promise to deport them and get them entry onto the country they desire illegally. Sometimes, such aliens become subject of other crimes in their illegal journey, and suffer from physical and sexual violence. It is when they pay the fees of the smugglers in full do they become free. Sometimes, some of the smuggled humans become victims of human trafficking.

In brief:

Difference between Smuggling and Trafficking

• Human smuggling refers to illegal entry of human beings into the country they desire to live, upon payment of money to smugglers.

• Human trafficking does not necessarily involve crossing of borders.

• Out of hundreds of thousands that are illegally transported to US, only a few thousand suffer from human trafficking