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People smuggling facts


Official statistics have shown that people smuggling has increased worldwide, including to Australia. A paper presented at the Australian Institute of Criminology's 4th National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia, People Smuggling: Recent Trends and Changing Responses, provides a snapshot of the general trends emerging in the last few years. Figures recorded by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs show tha t the number of illegal entrants into Australia over the last three years has increased from 1,707 during 1997-98 to 5,870 in 1999-2000. This 244 per cent increase is mainly due to a jump in the number of unauthorised entries by boat. There were 157 arriva ls by boat in 1997-98 but in 1999-2000 this number was 4,175. Numbers have shown a more gradual increase for unauthorised entries by air, with 1,550 travelling by air in 1997-98 and 1,695 doing so in 1999-2000. Although the recent increases in overall arrivals seem large, on the whole illegal immigration to Australia accounts for only a very small proportion of the global people smuggling market.

Unauthorised arrivals to Australia by air and boat 1995-2000



  • People Smuggling: Recent Trends and Changing Responses. Paper presented at the 4th National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia, New Crimes or New Responses convened by the Australian Institute of Criminology and held in Canberra 21-22 June 2001.

Cite article

2001. People smuggling facts. Crime facts info no. 5. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/cfi/cfi005