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Methodological problems in the study of illegal migration as defined in this article relate to questions of indicators for illegal migration, with special reference to Germany. It is argued and demonstrated that illegal immigrants are traceable, to some degree, in official statistics and that these can be analyzed for trends. In present-day migration processes, illegal immigration frequently is undertaken with the support of human smugglers. The analysis of the social organization of different forms of smuggling is the other main focus of the article. From a methodological point of view, the literature and public discourse lack adequate concepts for describing and explaining the social organization of human smuggling. The theory of organized crime as a main actor in human smuggling is criticized. The study borrows concepts from market and networks theory and applies these to different forms of human smuggling and illegal migration. The social and technological organization of smuggling is under constant pressure to adapt to new conditions. The dynamism for this change results mainly from an “arms race” between smugglers and law enforcement. Since control over territory and population are central elements of state sovereignty, the state cannot simply withdraw from this race.