Tunisia: Expanded Security Efforts on Display in Sfax Operation

by | Sep 16, 2023 | Security, Tunisia


On 16 September 2023, Tunisian security forces conducted a major counter-human smuggling operation in Sfax, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of migrants and the disruption of multiple trafficking networks.

The operation reportedly involved a number of units from the security forces and involved raids on locations used to produce boats, and to house migrants waiting to leave.

Unofficial reports on social media indicated that areas of the city center in Sfax where many migrants congregated previously were emptied of migrants.


Large-scale operations targeting migrant smuggling operations along Tunisian’s central and southern coasts have been on the rise, likely under pressure and with assistance from Tunisian’s European partners.

With the security assistance agreement between the two countries under growing scrutiny from Europe, Tunisia is likely being pressured to produce results by Italy among others.

With some intelligence cooperation already underway, such efforts are likely to continue and expand as European security assistance begins in earnest.

However, the aggressive disruption of established smuggling networks could have secondary impacts on the security environment that may be hard to predict. As established networks evolve and adapt, communities could experience an evolving security environment including shifts in criminal activity.


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