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Smuggler. What does this word make you think of? How does it make you feel? Discuss for a moment with the person next to you. People Smuggling. Our prompt. Remember, the prompt that is at the core of our unit of study is “asylum seekers are a threat to Australia”.

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  • What does this word make you think of?

  • How does it make you feel?

    Discuss for a moment with the person next to you.

People smuggling

People Smuggling

Our prompt

Our prompt

Remember, the prompt that is at the core of our unit of study is “asylum seekers are a threat to Australia”.

One of the aspects of this most considered threatening is “people smuggling”.

People smuggling definition

People Smuggling Definition

  • The facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation or illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border, in violation of one or more of the countries laws, either clandestinely or through deception, such as the use of fraudulent documents.


  • People smuggling generally takes place with the consent of the persons being smuggled, and common reasons include employment and economic opportunity, personal and/or familial betterment and escape from persecution and conflict.

  • People smugglers are paid money (often large sums) to transport people across borders at their wish.

Human trafficking

Human Trafficking

  • Is when this occurs without the consent of the individuals being transported. People are transported involuntarily through deception and force.

Reasons for smuggling

Reasons for smuggling

  • Escaping poverty

  • Seeking opportunities

  • Escaping natural disaster, conflict (war, civil war) or persecution

How is people smuggling a threat to australia

How is people smuggling a threat to Australia?

  • There are serious security and criminal concerns when people arriving in Australia are not properly identified.

  • There are major quarantine and health risks involved in people bypassing normal immigration channels.

  • Processing illegal immigrants creates significant logistical problems and costs

  • It infringes Australia’s sovereignty, giving us less control over our borders.

How is it tackled in australia

How is it tackled in Australia?

  • The AFP and Department of Immigration and Citizenship established a People Smuggling Strike Team (PSST) in 2000.

  • The team is responsible for investigating and stopping people smuggling operations.

  • Since Sept. 2008 there has been a spike in people smuggling activity. Passengers are predominately Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi and Sri Lankan nationalities.

The other side of the story

The other side of the story...

  • Successive Australian governments have used people smuggling to attempt to criminalise asylum seekers themselves. People associate people smuggling with illegal activity, when it is not illegal to claim asylum at all.

  • The penalties for people smuggling offences – up to 20 years jail for boats carrying more than five passengers – are now at the level of such crimes as terrorism, rape and murder, just for assisting asylum seekers (remember, seeking asylum is not illegal).


  • The vast majority of people prosecuted under the people smuggling laws are the poor Indonesian fisher folk who crew the asylum boats. Between May 2009 and April 2010, only six alleged organizers were charged with offences compared to 347 crew members between 9 October 2008 and 10 March 2011.

  • The evidence is that Indonesian crew are paid, “on average $200 [or] as little as $60″ for the journey. But mandatory sentences, of a minimum five years jail (of which three years must be served before any chance of parole) are being increasingly attacked by judges themselves for failing to account for the actual circumstances of those charged.


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