The Hague, 23 February – Criminal smuggling networks earned between 3 and 6 billion euros in the smuggling of migrants in 2015, Europol said today, warning that this number could double and even treble if the migration crisis continue to the pace.
About 90 percent of the more than a million migrants who entered the European Union illegally in 2015 used them as a “mediation service”, said European Director Rob Wainright at a press conference in The Hague, where he is based, adding that “services were mostly provided by criminal groups that made huge profits.”
Reporting about 3 to 6 billion euros in how much money they earned, Vainrett said that “this number will be doubled and tripled if the intensity of the current migrant crisis continues this year.” Tens of thousands of migrants have already entered Europe in 2016, he added.
For this reason, the organization “included combating smuggling into its main tasks,” he said when establishing a new department that would assist its members in dismantling smuggling networks.
Europol says it has information about almost 40,000 people suspected of being involved in the smuggling of migrants. The suspects come from more than a hundred countries, mainly from Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Kosovo, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
Europol’s EMSC will direct its operations in two cities critical to the migrant crisis – Catania (in Italy) and Piraeus (in Greece).
According to the European Agency for Frontex), 140,000 migrants have illegally entered Europe since the beginning of 2016 and it seems that the influx of refugees and migrants will not increase until the end of the year.