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 this study. 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.
French translation of the Inform was kindly provided by EMN France.