Brokers, Migrants and the State: Berri Kefach “Door Openers” in Ethiopian Clandestine Migration to South Africa
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This paper examines the crucial role that migration brokers play in organizing and sustaining irregular migration from Ethiopia to South Africa. Brokers and smugglers assist migrants in circumventing layers of migration control and navigate the complex, risky mobility landscape in the context of the governments’ organized campaign to stop ‘illegal migration’. The existing bodies of literature pertaining to irregular migration in Ethiopia suffer from major limitations. First, they tend to reduce the complex processes of overland migratory exits from Ethiopia to narratives of human trafficking. Secondly, they are devoid of the perspectives of migrants and brokers about the role of migration intermediaries even though their roles are indispensable where official migration channels are inaccessible. Thirdly, there is also a tendency to ignore the ambiguity of the boundaries between migration facilitation and the domain of migration control. Based on our research in major migrant sending locations— Hadya in Southern Ethiopia and the transit town of Moyale on the Ethiopia-Kenya border— this paper examines the multifaceted actors, their roles and infrastructures that facilitate and condition the migration process. More specifically, we examine the interplay between the complex web of migration facilitation, migrants’ agency and the control regimes to show how Ethiopian migration facilitation functions and how migrants navigate this complex landscape.
Rights holderUniversity of Sussex
- Working Papers