Over in Tibor's Space, Tibor Machan tells his story of being smuggled through the iron curtain to the West. He can not understand the depictions of these smugglers as "rapacious, greedy, heartless brutes".
Over the years people smugglers have served a vital role in saving countless people from misery, imprisonment and death. No one could call those that smuggled Jews out of the clutches of the Nazi's, criminals (except the Nazi's themselves of course). These smugglers were often paid for their highly risky services, which could result in their own imprisonment or death. The fact that they were paid does not diminish their Hero status one iota.
They only lose their Hero status when they intentionally hurt or restrict the ongoing freedom of the escapee - then we move over to the realm of Human Trafficking - which is another completing different matter. These are the men that are "rapacious, greedy, heartless brutes" and of whom we should be horrified.