Europol data show chang­ing trends in mi­grant smug­gling

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Europol has re­ceived in­tel­li­gence on some 7,000 sus­pected mi­grant smug­glers, the vast ma­jor­ity of them male and on av­er­age aged 35, ac­cord­ing to re­cent data col­lected by the EU’s law en­force­ment agency in the past six months.

Smug­gling fees have also risen sharply over the same pe­riod, Europol said. Un­til re­cently, in­di­vid­u­als wish­ing to il­le­gally cross bor­ders paid 2,000-5,000 euros to get from their home coun­try to their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion, usu­ally a coun­try like Ger­many, France or Swe­den. It is es­ti­mated that mi­grants now pay up to 3,000 euros just to reach their en­try point to the EU.

One of the rea­sons is that jour­neys which were once com­pleted in a cou­ple of weeks can now take sev­eral months, the agency said. Higher fees and longer trips have also ac­cen­tu­ated la­bor ex­ploita­tion, as an in­creas­ing num­ber of mi­grants are forced to work to cover the cost of their travel. In 2016, 5 per­cent of mi­grants said they had to work to pay back their traf­fick­ers, up from 0.2 per­cent last year.

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