Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Highways: Examining Nodal Points and Potential Strategies to Reduce Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
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National legislation requires America's federal law enforcement officers to disrupt transnational trafficking and smuggling of persons. However, ineffectiveness and episodic targeting has resulted in feeding into the smuggling and trafficking illicit economy. Continued migration from South and Central Americans, as well as Mexicans, across the Southwestern Boarder of the United States prove a lack of security. This thesis questions how trafficking and smuggling land routes function as a subgroup system of human trafficking and migrant smuggling illicit networks, if there is overlap between smuggling and trafficking land routes, and whether key nodes can be identified for better application of interventions. Using NVivo qualitative analysis software, the study examined 16 U.S. court cases of human traffickers and smugglers and 4 interviews of in the field border security experts. Combining an NVivo analysis with scholarly journal articles, government reports, and media coverage shows how smuggling and trafficking routes operate, identifies 4 leverage points for intervention success, and provided strategies for combating migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks.