The Strategist

Europol Identified Illegal Network Helping Migrants Creep to the EU

02/24/2016 - 15:29

European law enforcement agencies reported that illegal smuggling of migrants and refugees in the EU is performed by an organized criminal network. According to Europol’s data, the work involves about 40 thousand people; the organization’s turnover vary from € 3 billion to € 6 billion.

Euro press image
Euro press image
The report was presented within Joint Conference of Interpol and Europol which ended yesterday in The Hague, and dedicated to the illegal transport of refugees and migrants in the EU. As Director of Europol Rob Wainwright put it, "Our research has shown that criminal gangs are responsible for 90% of arrivals of illegal immigrants in the EU. The struggle against this activity is one of the most important moments in solving the crisis over migrants in the EU." At the conference, INTERPOL and Europol's leadership stated that their agencies have already been working closely to prevent migrant smuggling, search the organizers and perpetrators of schemes and their punishment.

The report states that Europol experts identified several organized criminal networks involved in smuggling of migrants in the EU. Law enforcement agencies suspect that these networks involve up to 40 thousand man. The agencies also investigated that more than 100 vessels are engaged in illegal transportation of refugees and migrants from Asia and Africa to the European shores. Europol experts identified several routes by which criminals ferry illegal migrants in the EU. Most actively, they use transport ships across the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea in Greece. Once the refugees got it there, they are trafficked either by land through non-EU Balkan countries into Croatia and then in other EU countries or in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, either by sea to Italy. A smaller flow goes through the western Mediterranean to Spain. The northern route of the illegal traffic of migrants in the EU passes through Russia and Norway. Europol points out that this route has been actively used since the end of 2015. Getting to the EU and Schengen, the flow of migrants is distributed to the wealthiest European countries - Europol experts say that the route’s end points are the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, as well as the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.

The police have detected more than 230 illegal transit points of migrants traffic within and outside the EU. In Europe, these illegal items are located in Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Calais, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hook of Holland, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Passau, Rome, Stockholm, Tornio, Thessaloniki, Vienna, Warsaw and Zeebrugge. Outside the EU, Europol has identified the points in Amman, Algiers, Beirut, Benghazi, Cairo, Casablanca, Istanbul, Izmir, Misrata, Tripoli and Oran. The researchers point out that the organization of illegal transportation of migrants in the EU is a branched international business, which involves the EU citizens and residents of other countries. It is reported that most of the suspects are found among the citizens of Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the people of Kosovo. 44% of organized criminal groups are controlled only by EU non-citizens, 30% are citizens of countries outside the EU, 26% of criminal groups are mixed.

In addition, the Europol report notes that such a large scope of activities of illegal groups on the organization of refugees transportation to the EU would have been impossible without involvement of corrupt officials. On this basis, Europol and Interpol stated that they intend to analyze, and, within their competence, to identify all cases of such activities at various levels and in different EU countries, as well as beyond.


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