Young people and smuggling in the Kasserine region of Tunisia

Stories of dispossession and the dynamics of exclusion

Following our qualitative research into smuggling in the Kasserine region of Tunisia, this report highlights the multifaceted socio-economic and political relationships young people enter through involvement in border economies.

At a time of heightened security concerns, political uncertainty and large-scale unemployment, our research moves away from both existing analyses of young people that describe them as a socially homogenous group and the recent systemic association of smuggling with terrorism, in order to understand it as a social reality. Focusing on young people from Kasserine who are involved in smuggling forms part of International Alert’s approach to understanding the situation of young people throughout Tunisia today.

Studying the experiences of the young smugglers and their daily struggle to access economic resources and evade crackdowns by the police and customs officers provides a particularly useful perspective for understanding the asymmetrical relationships and sources of injustice and ostracism perceived and experienced by the people of Kasserine.