People smuggling is the organised illegal movement of groups or individuals from one country to another. People who pay people smugglers do so for a variety of reasons including to seek protection and to pursue economic advantage. People smuggling can be lucrative and is increasingly carried out by sophisticated and highly organised networks.
The term is hot because it is associated with asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, terms that themselves generate a lot of heat. At the same time the idea of paying large sums of money for passage to Australia paints asylum seekers as rich and well-to-do rather than poor and desperate.
On the other hand people smuggling is also hot because people smugglers are seen to exploit those seeking to come to Australia, endangering their lives in unseaworthy boats.
10 March 2002