Secret tunnels have given entrance to or escape from an area, such as the Cu Chi Tunnels or the smuggling tunnels in the Gaza Strip which connect it to Egypt. Although the Underground Railroad network used to transport escaped slaves was "underground" mostly in the sense of secrecy, hidden tunnels were occasionally used. Secret tunnels were also used during the Cold War, under the Berlin Wall and elsewhere, to smuggle refugees, and for espionage.
Smugglers use secret tunnels to transport or store contraband, such as illegal drugs and weapons. Elaborately engineered 1,000-foot (300 m) tunnels built to smuggle drugs across the Mexico-US border were estimated to require up to 9 months to complete, and an expenditure of up to $1 million. Some of these tunnels were equipped with lighting, ventilation, telephones, drainage pumps, hydraulic elevators, and in at least one instance, an electrified rail transport system. Secret tunnels have also been used by thieves to break into bank vaults and retail stores after hours. Several tunnels have been discovered by the Border Security Forces across the Line of Control along the India-Pakistan border, mainly to allow terrorists access to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The actual usage of erdstall tunnels is unknown but theories connect it to a rebirth ritual.