People smuggling

People smugglers are individuals or groups who assist others to enter a country through irregular methods. In the case of Australia, people smugglers provide air or sea access.

People smuggling is a crime under Australian law and it puts lives at risk. To break the people smugglers' business model it is important that those who make people smuggling their business face the full force of Australian law.

People smuggling is of concern to the Australian Government because:

  • there are serious security and criminal concerns when people arriving in Australia are not properly identified
  • it infringes Australia's sovereignty, giving us less control over our borders.

People smuggling and human trafficking

People smuggling is a very different crime from human trafficking.

People smuggling is the organised, irregular movement of people across borders on a payment-for-service basis, whereas human trafficking is the physical movement of people domestically or across borders through deceptive means, coercion or force.

Importantly, people traffickers are motivated by the prospect of exploiting their victims once they reach the destination country.

More information is available on the Human trafficking page.


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