Migrant smuggling



Close one route...smugglers find another (Economist, 26 October, 2019)

"Making it easier to get out of lorries is politically simpler than making it easier to get into countries. It would also save lives."


Social media firms "enabling" "entrapment" by smugglers

(UN, IOM officials quoted in UK Independent, 29 December, 2018)


Britain's NCA, Difficulties of convicting smugglers (Economist, 18 June, 2016)


Operation Sophia: EU naval mission to stop people

smuggling "is not working"  (UK Independent, 13 May, 2016)

"While 80 boats have been destroyed, the sinkings have simply resulted in

smugglers switching from wooden crafts to even more dangerous dinghies, House of Lords report finds."  See also this BBC update (12 July, 2017)


Euro 10,000 for being smuggled from Macedonian border to Passau

(Die Zeit, 5 May, 2016  in German)


Barriers to Greece-Balkans corridor enable new opportunities for smuggling along alternate routes (NY Times, 12 March, 2016) 


Europol launches European Migrant Smuggling Center (Feb 2016)

Highlights from its February 2016 Report:

"In 2015, more than one million irregular migrants reached the EU," a volume five times higher than in 2014. As many as 90% of them used the services of "smuggling networks" at "some point during their journey." This generated between Euro 3-6 billion in revenues for the over 40 thousand individuals working in networks smuggling migrants to Europe. About half of payments from migrants in 2015 were collected in cash. On current trends, such smuggling activity and revenue is expected to increase further in 2016. Smuggling by air has been relatively infrequent, but is expected to grow as controls are tightened on land and sea routes. 


To Europe via Istanbul (Tages-Anzeiger, Zurich, 18 Nov, 2015, in German)
   At Istanbul's Aksary square, supply meets demand. Migrants can obtain life-jackets, warm  

     underwear and food for sea crossings, nearby overnight lodging (30 Euro) and forged passports.  

     Migrant smuggling services in Turkey take in an estimated $10 billion annually. For assistance   

     on sea and land routes to the EU, migrants pay 1000-2000 Euro. Air travel for smuggled

     refugees is the most sophisticated service. A forged German passport alone can cost Euro 8,000. Profits of trans-Mediterranean dealers in people (Tages-Anzeiger 12-Sep-15, in German)
   A total fee of $2,000-2500 is collected segment by segment, and derives mainly from friends

     and relatives in destination regions. One ship crossing can net smugglers $80,000. Four smuggler

     networks dominate the business and divide it. A northbound transit of Switzerland costs E 500.

Migrant smuggling in Europe worth billions (NY Times, 3 Sep., 2015) 

Hazards of at-sea transfers (Medit.) (NY Times, 21 Oct., 2014) 



  Smuggler fees Central America-USA $4,000-$10,000 (Rand Corp, April, 2019 (pdf))

  Nogales smuggler tunnels  (NY Times, 2 September, 2016)

  Brazilians smuggled to South Florida  (Miami Herald, 29 Nov., 2015)

  Migrant smuggling, Bay of Bengal  (Migration Policy Institute,  June, 2015)

  Haitians smuggled to Peru and Brazil  (Insightcrime, 21 June, 2014)

  Under US-Mexico border  (NY Times, 31 October, 2013)

    A “gamble with dangerous odds,” from a “self-perpetuating pyramid scheme with a proven ability to adapt.
  Migrant smuggling by air to Australia 


See also:UNODC 2018 Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants

UN anti-smuggling protocol

Scholarly background on smuggling: scroll down here

Migration in the news

Illegal immigration to USA

Help for contemporary refugees

Contemporary migration processes


 This page last updated 30-November-2019