Mexico is an important hub in the Latin American smuggling market. Its relevance has been historically tied to its geographic proximity to the United States – the top migrant destination in the world – and to the migratory patterns that for generations have connected both countries. Yet demographic changes began to take place by the turn of the century. United States-bound migration levels from Mexico started to decline, while increasing numbers of Central American, South American and Caribbean migrants often fleeing from conditions of socioeconomic and human insecurity began to trek through Mexico on route to the United States. Combined with the increased visibility of extracontinental migrants – primarily those from Africa and Asia – and an exponential growth in asylum applications after several decades as a migrant-generating country, Mexico is now an important migrant transit and destination locale. Yet simultaneously, it also presents a series of challenges rooted in the country’s complex security dynamics connected to the presence of organized crime, documented corruption and increasing levels of socioeconomic inequality. Mexico became a signatory of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in the year 2000, and ratified it in 2003.83 This chapter provides insights into Mexico’s migrant smuggling data, an overview of the empirical research on smuggling undertaken in and on the country, an analysis of its findings, and conclusions and recommendations on how to further build Mexico’s emerging body of scholarship on smuggling facilitation.

Related Subject(s): Migration; Human Rights and Refugees
Countries: Mexico
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