Military industry profits from refugee tragedy

Overview of publications


Reports and briefings


Global Climate Wall: How the world’s wealthiest nations prioritise borders over climate action

October 2021

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

This report finds that the world’s biggest emitters of green house gases are spending, on average, 2.3 times as much on arming their borders as they are on climate finance. This figure is as high as 15 times as much for the worst offenders. This “Global Climate Wall” aims to seal off powerful countries from migrants, rather than addressing the causes of displacement.


Outsourcing Oppression: How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores

April 2021

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

This report seeks to join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notoriously poor conditions in those migrant detention centres. Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.

Financing Border Wars: The border industry, its financiers and human rights

April 2021

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.

Rejection and Risk: The effects of Brexit on refugees in Calais

January 2021

With Care4Calais

This report details the ever-harsher border security measures put in place by the French and UK authorities. Naval vessels, RAF planes and Army drones have all been deployed in the Channel. The UK is paying for extra police officers and surveillance technology in northern France.  While this creates millions in profits for the security industry, for refugees the only result is greater risk of death or serious injury.

A Walled World: Towards a global apartheid

November 2020

With Transnational Institute (TNI), Centre Delàs and Stop The Wall

Over the last 50 years, 63 border walls have been built worldwide. This report maps the walls that have led 6 out of 10 people in the world to live in a nation with one of these border walls, analysing the justifications for the walls, the growing militarisation of borders everywhere and the businesses that have profited.

COVID-19 and Border Politics

July 2020

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

This briefing takes a look at the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for refugees and migrants and its anticipated influence on the border security and control market. What are the direct effects on migrants and refugees who are already living in vulnerable situations? What does it mean for people crossing international borders, seeking asylum and transiting the deadly and treacherous migrant routes across regions, continents and seas?

Hunted. Detained. Deported.: UK-French co-operation and the effects of border securitisation on refugees in Calais

February 2020

With Care4Calais

This report shows that the UK has paid France hundreds of millions of pounds to increase border security at Calais, resulting in more violence against, and risks for, refugees. After Brexit even more stringent border security measures at and around Calais can be expected.

The Business of Building Walls

November 2019

With Transnational Institute (TNI) and Centre Delàs

This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.

Expanding the Fortress: The policies, the profiteers and the people shaped by EU’s border externalisation programme

May 2018

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

The EU has made migration control a central goal of its foreign relations, rapidly expanding border externalisation measures that require neighbouring countries to act as Europe’s border guards. This report examines 35 countries, prioritised by the EU, and finds authoritarian regimes emboldened to repress civil society, vulnerable refugees forced to turn to more dangerous and deadly routes, and European arms and security firms booming off the surge in funding for border security systems and technologies.

NATO and EU border security in the Mediterranean

May 2017

This briefing shows that NATO supports EU border security policies, especially in the Mediterranean. Initially playing a low key role in assisting Frontex missions, NATO has stepped up to a more active role since the start of the so called ‘refugee crisis’ in 2015. This includes support to the EU military Operation Sophia for the coast of Libya.

Border Wars II: An update on the arms industry profiting from Europe’s refugee tragedy

December 2016

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

This briefing shows that the European policy response to the refugee tragedy continues to provide a booming border security market for Europe’s arms and security firms, some of whom are involved in selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa and all of whom encourage European policies focused on keeping refugees out. It’s a win-win for the security corporations, but the cost is a deadly toll for migrants forced into ever more dangerous routes as they flee wars, conflict and oppression.

Border Wars: The arms dealers profiting from Europe’s refugee tragedy

July 2016

With Transnational Institute (TNI)

While tens of thousands of refugees have died fleeing terrible violence and hardship to get to Europe, not everyone has lost out. This report exposes the military and security companies that have profited from the tragedy, winning contracts to provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.


In co-publication with Centre Delàs and Transnational Institute (TNI)


Book chapters


Articles, blogs, presentations