Published On: Tue, May 17th, 2016

Study: Migrant-Smuggling Worth up to $6 Billion in 2015

Sisi's Egypt Pushes Migrants into the Sea

The findings of a joint Europol-INTERPOL Report published Teusday estimates the annual turnover of migrant smuggling last year of up to $6 billion, representing one of the main profit-generating activities for organised criminals in Europe.

They said that some 800, 000 waiting in Libya to cross the Mediterranean trying to reach the European Union. More than 1.2 million people applied for asylum in the EU last year.

Other key findings reveal that:

·Travel by 90% of the migrants to the European Union (EU) is predominantly facilitated by members of a criminal network.

·Key migratory routes identified as main corridors for migrant smuggling are fluid and influenced by external factors like border controls.

·Facilitators behind migrant smuggling are organized in loosely connected networks.

·Migrant smuggling is a multinational business, with suspects originating from more than 100 countries.

·The structure of migrant smuggling networks includes leaders who loosely coordinate activities along a given route, organisers who manage activities locally through personal contacts, and opportunistic low level facilitators.

·Migrant smuggling suspects tend to have previous connections with other types of crime.

·Migrants who travel to the EU are vulnerable to labour or sexual exploitation as they need to repay their debt to smugglers.

·While a systematic link between migrant smuggling and terrorism is not proven, there is an increased, there is an increased risk that foreign terrorist fighters may use migratory flows to (re)enter the EU.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, said: “I am pleased to present this joint report between Europol and INTERPOL. It describes the huge role played by organized crime networks in the migration crisis and sends a clear message to the EU and its Member States that we must combat these networks in the strongest possible terms. Thanks to the establishment of the new European Migrant Smuggling Centre at Europol, and its collaboration with INTERPOL and other partners, we now have the operational means to reach this goal.”

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