Human Smuggling


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  1. Black Market: Human Smuggling $35 Billion

Information and statistics about human smuggling and illegal transportion of migrants worldwide. Data about the routes, prices and journey are collected from intelligence agencies, security reports and other public information sources.

According to research organization Demoskopika in Italy, the mafia syndicate ‘Ndrangheta collected $73 Billion (€53 Billion) in revenue in 2013.

The various revenue streams for the syndicate is as follows:

Intelligence from criminal justice programs state that the ‘Ndragheta has around 400 key operatives working on its behalf in 30 countries. When including all people who conduct business on behalf of the group, then the number of people working for ‘Ndragheta is estimated to be as high as 60,000.

Source:  AFP, “‘Ndrangheta mafia ‘made more last year than McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank’,” Guardian, March 26, 2014.

According to research organization Demoskopika in Italy, the mafia syndicate ‘Ndrangheta collected $73 Billion (€53 Billion) in revenue in 2013.

The various revenue streams for the syndicate is as follows:

Intelligence from criminal justice programs state that the ‘Ndragheta has around 400 key operatives working on its behalf in 30 countries. When including all people who conduct business on behalf of the group, then the number of people working for ‘Ndragheta is estimated to be as high as 60,000.

Source:  AFP, “‘Ndrangheta mafia ‘made more last year than McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank’,” Guardian, March 26, 2014.

In 2013, criminal justice programs in the Netherlands investigated 175 cases of human smuggling across the country. The number of smuggling cases were an increase of 25 percent from the human smuggling cases investigated in 2012.

An estimated 1,500 people are residing in the Netherlands without proper documents or visas. Most of these individuals originated from Afghanistan and Syria. Security officials state that most of the people are attempting to continue onto Germany, Scandinavia or France.

The Royal Military Police also investigated 122 human trafficking cases in the Netherlands in 2013. The trafficking cases increased by 10 percent from 2012.

(Price of human traffickers and victims when sold.)

Source:  Mazime Zech, “More Human Trafficking Last Year,” NL Times, March 21, 2014.

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According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, organized crime groups that facilitate human smuggling are able to generate up to $109 Million a year from transporting illegal migrants around the world.

Most of the people that are smuggled are from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and are attempting to enter Australia by traveling by sea across the Indian Ocean. Many of the people that utilize these services are religious minorities who are escaping persecution and attempting to claim asylum in Australia.

There are also cases reported of Pakistani migrants who are smuggled to Europe. According to the UNODC, there have been incidents where the migrants have been caught holding fake id cards and counterfeit documents.

In addition, criminal justice departments in Pakistan have also seen an increase in people from Syria and Egypt using these human smuggling networks to escape the violence in their countries.

Source:  Ayaz Gul, “UN: Human Trafficking Increasing in Pakistan,” Voice of America, January 23, 2014.

According to statistics collected by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 2,360 migrants died while attempting to cross borders around the world in 2013.

For sea-based crossing by boats, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, and the waters surrounding Indonesia and Thailand saw a number of deaths of migrants attempting to cross borders.

For land-based traveling, the border between Mexico and the United States and the desert between West Africa and Libya were also considered to be dangerous routes for migrants.

The value of the black market in human smuggling was estimated to be worth $35 Billion a year industry, according to the IOM. This figure is higher than the previously $20 Billion estimate made in 2009.

Source:  “It’s Time to Take Action and Save Lives of Migrants Caught in Crisis,” International Organization for Migration, Press Release, December 17, 2013.

According to US Government statistics, there were an average of 6,000 to 7,000 minors who were apprehended crossing the United States and Mexico border unaccompanied by an adult between 2008 and 2011. These unaccompanied minors would be placed in custody with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

In 2012, the number of unaccompanied children who were place with the Office of Refugee Resettlement increased to 13,625  minors.

In 2013, the number increased again to 24,668 minors.

These figures only include minors who were placed in the office, and does not include the children who were sent to Mexico in conjunction with its government.

Most of the children who end up at the office are from Central America.

(Prices charged by human smugglers.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Judge: US government assisting child smuggling,” Washington Post, December 19, 2013.

Human smugglers offer migrants and other individuals travel “packages” that smuggles them into Malaysia and provides them with a new identity.

According to a report by the New Straits Times, smugglers offer packages for $771 (2,500 Malaysian Ringgit) that would smuggle a person into Malaysia and provide them with a counterfeit identification.

(More price about fake id cards for sale.)

The smugglers would provide an altered MyKad, which is the official identification card issued by the Government of Malaysia. The MyKad would be real, with the original owners id number, name and address, but would be altered with the smuggled person’s photo.

Criminal justice programs across Malaysia recently arrested 20 illegal immigrants who were working as security guards using altered MyKad documents.

Source:  Sim Bak Heng, “Brunei new entry point to Malaysia,” New Straits Times, December 16, 2013.

Government security agencies in Jordan seized 300 percent more weapons and firearms on its border with Syria in 2013 when compared to 2012.

900 weapons, 24 vehicles, and 6 million illegal drug pills were seized while attempting to be smuggled into Jordan.

Along with the black  market items, nearly 1,600 people were caught attempting to illegally enter Jordan from Syria in 2013.

(See the prices of guns on the black market.)

Source:  IANS, “Smuggling of weapons rises sharply at Jordan borders,” Yahoo News India, December 6, 2013.

In 2011, security services in Canada arrested 487 people attempting to be smuggled into Canada. from the United States.  In 2010, there were 308 arrests.

There were more people attempting to be smuggled into Canada from the US than going from Canada to the US.  In 2011, there were 360 people who were arrested for attempting to be smuggled into the United States from Canada, down from 376 in 2010.

Law enforcement agencies in Canada state that 115 organized crime groups and 106 “criminal entrepreneurs” are actively involved in smuggling black market goods between the two country.

For human smuggling, the gangs would arrange a ride for a migrant to an isolated area near the border. Then, the migrant to told to walk through the area (often through the woods) to the United States, where another driver is waiting to pick them up.

Source:  Jim Bronskill, “Human smuggling to Canada from U.S. on the rise: report,” Vancouver Sun, November 20, 2013.

The news program Four Corners in Australia reported that human smugglers sell passports and visa documents to Australia for $15,000 (16,000 AUD). The black market sellers claimed that a recent customer purchased a valid visa and passport issued by Bahrain, and was able to use the documents to board a plane to Australia.

The smugglers tell their customers to rip up the passport and visa on the plane before landing in Australia. Once on Australian soil, the person is able to apply for asylum.

(Additional prices of black market goods.)

Source: Sarah Ferguson, “People smugglers selling asylum seekers passports and visas for entry to Australia by plane,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, November 19, 2013.