This module is a resource for lecturers

Possible class structure

This section contains recommendations for a teaching sequence and timing intended to achieve learning outcomes through a three-hour class.

NOTE: The class structure proposed is merely indicative. As students' prior knowledge and exposure to these issues varies widely, the lecturer should adapt contents as well as the time suggested for each component of the Module, according to the educational and social context, needs of the students and as otherwise appropriate.

Ice-breaker and attention-catcher: Channel 4 News film Migration Crisis: Are we fuelling people smuggling and discussion (app. 15 minutes)

It is proposed that the Module commences by asking the class what students understand the term 'smuggling of migrants' to mean. Following the discussion, the lecturer should briefly clarify that, as detailed in Module 1, migrant smuggling will exist only where the person assisting the illegal entry, transit or stay of another person in a country of which the latter is not a national or resident, acts for the purpose of obtaining a financial or other material benefit. If a person acts with humanitarian or altruistic reasons (for example, by providing free of charge shelter to an irregular migrant in need), he or she should not be liable for smuggling of migrants. This definition follows the terms of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Of course, national laws may not be entirely aligned with the Protocol and Convention; lecturers should always consider this when delivering the material.

It is suggested that the lecturer then proceeds with a viewing of the short film Migration Crisis: Are we fuelling people smuggling (app. 5 minutes) by Channel 4 News. It provides a snapshot of critical issues that will be developed and recalled throughout the university module series on smuggling of migrants. The film and ensuing debate is aimed at captivating the interest of students.

In line with the above, it is recommended that the lecturer asks the students to identify the main subjects and challenges raised in the film. It would be important that, from the discussion, the following elements (which are directly or indirectly referenced in the film) emerge:

  • Measures adopted to suppress migrant smuggling and related costs;
  • Alleged failures and successes of counter-smuggling operations;
  • Precarious conditions to which migrants are exposed;
  • Improper use of funding provided to countries of transit/origin;
  • Importance of not focussing exclusively on sea operations when smuggling occurs at sea, but extending the focus to operations in the territory of countries of origin and/or transit;
  • Some governments' inability (and/or unwillingness) to cooperate in counter-migrant smuggling efforts;
  • The particular vulnerability of children; and
  • Ruthlessness of migrant smugglers.

In addition to the content explored in the film, it is suggested that the discussion includes debate on other relevant points, namely:

  • The fate of smuggled migrants, especially in situations where countries are incapable of absorbing, in a short period of time, considerable increases in irregular migration;
  • The reaction of the population in destination countries and the impact thereof on smuggled migrants;
  • Different motivations to address migrant smuggling. That is, while it is difficult to find support for the argument that countering migrant smuggling is not a priority, the reasons that may be invoked to do so (independent of their respective strength and legitimacy) vary. They range from protecting human rights and/or State sovereignty, to preventing the funding of other serious crimes, obstructing infiltration of criminals, expanding regular migration, minimizing protection obligations, among others.

This activity is to function as an 'ice-breaker' and 'attention-catcher'. The purpose is not to explore in detail any of the matters listed above. These are dealt with in other modules that form part of the University Module Series on Smuggling of Migrants, such as Module 1 and 3.


in line with the topics described under ' Introduction and learning outcomes' (app. 85 minutes)

Break (10 minutes)

Exercises (app. 60 minutes)

  • Brief presentation of the Exercises by the lecturer (10 minutes).
  • The class is divided into two groups with one being assigned Exercise 1 and the other Exercise 2.
  • Each group shall carry out the task assigned and write down its conclusions on a paperboard, flipchart or any other appropriate means (30 minutes).
  • Each group will present the outcome of their work to the class (10 minutes per group).

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