Study on Smuggling of Migrants: Characteristics & Cooperation with Third Countries

Optimity Advisors, supported by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), was commissioned by the European Commission’s DG Migration and Home Affairs to undertake the study on “Smuggling of migrants: Characteristics, responses and cooperation with third countries”. It involved six months of desk research, interviews and data analysis across selected European Member States and third countries. Five case studies explored smuggling activities in Greece, Italy, Malta, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Syria (Lebanon), Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Turkey and FYR of Macedonia. The study found evidence of an active market for migrant smuggling services with strong communication networks. The business model is network based, forming active Hubs where the intensity of smuggling activities is greatest. Family and diaspora play an important role, particularly in communications. Operational activities to tackle supply need to be comprehensive, targeted at the Hubs and coordinated across agencies and borders. Activities that only tackle supply could increase risks faced by migrants who are already particularly vulnerable to exploitation and human rights violations. Initial findings of the study informed the EU Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling (2015-2020).

Read the full report here.

Client: European Commission, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

Year: 2015

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