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  • Writer's pictureIDEAL-MIGRATION

Professionalisation of migrant smuggling

According to Europol, the European Police Office, 90% of all migrants reaching the European Union use the facilitation services of a migrant smuggling network.

People smuggling syndicates are run like businesses: they are engaged in a highly profitable criminal business.

Smuggling networks can be complex, and can involve people in a variety of roles (Interpol) :

- recruiters, middlemen,

- boat captains, guides, drivers,

- people who provide accommodation along the way,

- people who provide illegal travel documents.

Most of the smuggling process is carried out online.

"Criminals groups use the Internet or dark web to recruit, gather real-time information on routes, communicate and advertise their services" (Interpol).

These platforms are professionally run, like those of companies, and for migrants, planning an illegal journey can seem like booking a holiday.

Unfortunately, the reality is often very different: hazardous roads, overcrowded boats, abandonment and forced criminality are just some of the dangers faced by migrants once they set off.

Aggressive advertising campaigns

In 2016, 17,000 smugglers used Facebook to organize their activities to Europe (Europol).

Screenshot of the Facebook page You want to migrate to Europe via Libya

"Advertisements" include smuggler data, prices, success rate and promotional films.

On these facebook pages, often in Arabic, smugglers promote idyllic crossings to Europe. With evocative titles, smugglers offer safe journeys aboard "yatchs" or "liners".

Screenshot of a facebook page

It is also possible to find on social networks, pages that manufacture false documents and European passports for sums up to € 9,000 (Infomigrants).

With respect to the average cost of a migrant's passage, this may vary depending on the mode of transportation chosen.

The land route is the most expensive: € 2,000 per person.

A passage by sea is more "economical", but the price depends on the type of boat.

- inflatable boat: 500 / 1,000 €

- wooden boat: 1,100 / 1,300 €

- fishing boat: 2,500 / 3,500 €

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