Human smugglers made 3-6 bn dollars in 2015, Europol says

Fastest-growing market in the European Union

18 January, 13:06

    Human smugglers made 3-6 bn dollars in 2015, Europol says Human smugglers made 3-6 bn dollars in 2015, Europol says

    ROME - Criminal organisations involved in human smuggling made between three and six billion dollars in 2015, and the market for migrant smuggling is the fastest-growing market in the European Union, said Europol Deputy Director Wil Van Gemert on Wednesday in a hearing before the Schengen Commission.

    "More than 90% of migrants interviewed told us they had concessions from criminal organisations, services like supplying passports, means of transport and the possibility to transfer money," Gemert said.

    "They've set up real travel agencies," he said.

    He explained that there are organisations operating in the countries of origin and transit as well as "secondary organisations" that "give all the necessary support once (the migrants) arrive in Europe", where migrants are exploited for illegal work and drug trafficking.

    Gemert said police forces aren't enough to fight this type of market and an "overall action" on a European-wide level is necessary, with "continually increased information exchange that would allow better interoperability between countries and therefore better prevention". Gemert said cases of terrorists infiltrating migrant groups to reach Europe are "isolated", but Europol has collected evidence of how ISIS militants have exploited the organisations to "finance their own interests" and to obtain documents.

    "What's important is that upon the migrants' arrival there's an identification of possible terrorists," Gemert said.

    There are currently 38,000 names in the Europol database, 4,000 of whom are European citizens considered to be linked to Islamic extremism.

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