Human Smuggling in the Eastern Mediterranean: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Human Smuggling in the Eastern Mediterranean

1st Edition

By Theodore Baird


178 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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The organization of human smuggling from the Middle East and Africa through Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean has become a contemporary political concern throughout Europe, receiving intense and polarised media attention. This timely book reformulates how we conceive of human smuggling, challenging popular and political conceptions of the practice in Europe.

This book proposes a new framework for examining the causes and effects of human smuggling in the Mediterranean, analysing the contingent patterns of human smuggling in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean with a geographic focus on Turkey. Building on unique empirical material from fieldwork in Turkey and Greece, this book describes the rise of human smuggling as a practice, viewed through a framework of multiple 'contingencies'. Uniquely, this book includes in-depth testimonies of migrants who have survived crossing the Aegean Sea and details the strategies and tactics of the facilitators who help them.

In Human Smuggling in the Eastern Mediterranean, Theodore Baird puts a human face to the tragedies occurring in the Mediterranean while maintaining that contingent historical, political, economic, and geographic forces have aligned to propel the practice of human smuggling forward. The book will be of interest to scholars working in migration studies, as well as scholars in the fields of sociology, criminology, law, political science, anthropology, and geography.


"Rather than conceiving human smuggling only as a business organised for criminal profit this book shows that smuggling is part of a broader trend of social transformations with the most innovative chapter being on the links between smuggling and state formation and rebellion in the context of Kurdistan. This book about smuggling in the Eastern Mediterranean is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand not only the internal structures of human smuggling but also its links to the external environment."

Ilse van Liempt, Assistant Professor in Urban Geography and Qualitative Research Methods in the Human Geography Department, Utrecht University

"This book essentially contributes to understanding human smuggling in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. It is inspiring how it addresses human smuggling in the context of broader (geo)political and social transformation processes at the local, regional and global level. It not only complements existing knowledge but sparks new avenues of discussion on human smuggling. A much needed perspective and a great enrichment."

Veronika Bilger, Programme Manager – Research, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)

"This book presents a fascinating and well discussed account of human smuggling in the Mediterranean."

Reiko Okazaki - Monash University in Melbourne

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements


Part I: Structural Sources, Dynamic Tensions, and Hazards

1. A State of Transformation

2. Conflict and Quasi-States

3. Policing Tensions

Intermezzo. Dynamic Cycles

Part II: Relational Structures, Agents, and Vulnerabilities

4. Helmets, Books, and Money

5. Decisions and Relations

6. Coercion, Violence, and Vulnerability




About the Author

Theodore Baird is a post-doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Law at VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology