People from Africa and the Middle East pay smugglers thousands of euros to come to Europe

news 20-Jun-2023 World News

The lucrative business of fleeing to Europe

People from Africa and the Middle East pay smugglers thousands of euros to come to Europe. Smuggling is very profitable, and it is difficult to trace the masterminds behind it. Nine alleged smugglers were arrested in Greece after a major shipwreck, and they will appear in court today after a judge granted a 24-hour delay on Monday.

Difficulty in tracing the masterminds behind the human smuggling business

In Pakistan, people have also been arrested in connection with the shipwreck. However, it is difficult to get to the real traffickers. Hasan, a survivor from Syria, has testified in court against the nine alleged smugglers. A Greek newspaper printed his statement, detailing the experiences he had during the boat incident. The smugglers had free movement on the ship, while the passengers had to sit on the floor. Food and water ran out after a few days, and he could hardly breathe inside the ship.

Eradicating traffickers in the business

One man was informed that his relative had lost consciousness five minutes before the boat sank. The lucky ones who survived were on deck, and all those below deck went down with the boat. Even among the survivors, the nine alleged smugglers were present. Another trafficker has admitted to receiving money to work on the boat during the journey. The others deny all accusations. An investment in such an illegal business can reap huge profits.

The lucrative profits of the smuggling business

For the journey of his son to Italy, Hasan's Syrian father reportedly paid 4100 euros. Others claimed they paid up to 6000 euros for a place on the boat. Human trafficking is highly profitable, and it is a well-structured business. A smuggler from Tunisia called his business "an illegal travel agency." If the money for new boats is insufficient, other people will invest in his business.

Europol's role in the arrest of smugglers

The Greek authorities suspect that the nine men arrested are part of a large smuggling network that has organized up to 18 trips from Libya to Italy over the past few months. Europol has been asked to assist Greek authorities in catching the masterminds, who are allegedly based in Italy and Egypt, and it is thought that several people in Pakistan have also been arrested in relation to this issue.

Seeking a way to stop the influx of smugglers into Europe

Christopher Hein, a professor of asylum and migration at Luiss University in Rome, believes that the only way to prevent further boat accidents in the Mediterranean and put an end to smugglers is by the EU adopting a different migration policy. The people need legal ways to access Europe and cannot be forced to pay thousands of euros to smugglers from Africa or the Middle East for assistance. "There must be an alternative that is truly an option for people, and unfortunately, it doesn't exist yet."

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