The chapter examines the modus operandi of the actors involved in the facilitation of clandestine cross-border mobility. Building on data, concepts, and normative assumptions from law-enforcement agencies, a criminological perspective has dominated the field of migrant smuggling studies for many years, depicting the phenomenon as a criminal enterprise organised hierarchically. However, the proliferation of empirical studies has shown that the structuring role of organised criminal syndicates remains limited in migrant smuggling, while horizontal coordination prevails. Focusing on different localities and routes, the chapter highlights the need to shift the focus from the economic to the social capital of smuggling actors, highlighting the relationships of trust, kinship and reciprocity that often link smugglers and smuggled. The focus on actors’ agency suggests that the facilitation of clandestine mobility, albeit formally criminalised, is deeply interwoven into the texture of ordinary social life of borderlands. In conclusion, the chapter addresses the issue of how the enhancement of border controls and the rise of armed protection impact on the social organisation of cross-border mobility. The iatrogenic effect of anti-smuggling policies can turn the arrow of causality on its head, making organised crime infiltration less the cause of anti-smuggling measures, than the consequence.