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Maybritt Jill Alpes sheds light on the relationships between migration brokers and aspiring migrants at their point of departure in this new working paper.

Both trafficking and smuggling discourses put much blame for the vulnerability of migrants on brokers, this paper investigates why and how aspiring migrants repeatedly decide to give money to brokers even after prior failures or disappointments.

The author answers this question on the basis of 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork with migration brokers  in Anglophone Cameroon from 2007 to 2009. In particular, she draws on the analysis of a case study of an aspiring migrant who failed to leave Cameroon despite the help of a broker.

This paper argues the importance of putting aside distinctions between smugglers and traffickers or between legal and illegal brokers and demonstrates how aspiring migrants in a place of departure come to make distinctions between different brokers on the basis of their genuine intentions and levels of international connections.