Smugglers endanger lives of migrants in transit

Photo credit: Europol. Smugglers hide migrants on top of vehicle engines.

TMP –  25/10/2017

Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, has uncovered new and dangerous ways that smugglers are using to hide migrants from the eyes of law enforcement authorities since crossing European borders has become more difficult.

According to Europol, smugglers endanger the lives of migrants by concealing them in various ways, including inside engine compartments. Migrants are placed on top of a vehicle’s engine, in the space between the engine and the bonnet before approaching border checkpoints.

This method is extremely dangerous and the lives of migrants crossing the border in this manner is at risk. Despite the dangers, one example revealed that migrants paid around 7,000 euros for this service for a one-way trip from Turkey to Austria.

Other life-threatening conditions faced by migrants travelling by road are overcrowding in vehicles, lack of air and travelling at high speeds to avoid law enforcement.

Executive Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, said: “Migrant smuggling has become a big and dangerous business in Europe. In the face of increased pressure from law enforcement authorities criminal groups are resorting to desperate methods to smuggle victims across borders, often with life-threatening consequences.”

Europol, in its recent report, also unveiled new trends in migrant smuggling into and within countries in the EU. These include the use of leisure vessels (mostly sailing yachts) for smuggling migrants, the re-emergence of an alternative route via the Black Sea and an increase in arrivals via the western Mediterranean route into Spain.