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, security services has 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.
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.
Security services in the country 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.
Security forces 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.
In 2013, wildlife organizations launched educational campaigns that aimed to lower the consumption of shark fin. Fisherman would cut the fins off of sharks in order to be used in soups that were served in high-end restaurants in Hong Kong and China. The results of the campaigns have been very successful, as many restaurants no longer serve shark fin soup.
Due to the lower demand for shark fin, fisherman who made their living in the Asia Pacific region have seen their income drop. According to media reports, fisherman who caught shark fins previously made several hundred dollars per month. In late 2013, as the demand for shark fin declines, the fisherman are now only earning between $37 to $46 per month (40 to 50 Australian Dollars).
In order to find new incomes, many of the fisherman are turning to human smuggling. Reports indicate that fisherman in Indonesia are using their boats to transports asylum seekers to Australia. A captain of a human smuggling boat can earn up to $2,327 (2,500 AUD). The crew members of the smuggling boat can earn between $930 to $1,396 (1,000 to 1,500 AUD).
(More prices and fees for human smugglers.)
Source: Kate Evans, “Drop in shark fin prices lures people smugglers,” ABC Radio Australia, November 14, 2013.
Refugees from Syria are paying boat operators $3,000 for a one-way trip to Europe, according to a report by Foreign Policy.
The Syrians who are escaping the conflict are traveling to Europe, where they board boats off the coast of Alexandria. The journey takes up to two weeks to cross the Mediterranean sea. The journey is filled with many dangers, ranging from thieves on the boat to capsizing. In early October 2013, 350 people died when their boat crossing the Mediterranean sea capsized off the coast of Italy.
(More human smuggling prices.)
Source: Sophia Jones, “At Sea: Smugglers, shipwrecks, and the harrowing, tragic journey of Syrian refugees trying to get to Sweden.
In the middle of 2013, security officials in Spain and other countries in Europe have reported an increase in migrants attempting to be smuggled into EU territory. Most of the migrants are departing from Morocco, where the distance to cross over the ocean is just 9 miles to reach the coast of Spain.
Due to the increase in illegal entry, there has been a rise in price for rubber dinghies in Morocc. In Spain, a dinghy costs $109, while in Morocco the cost is $680.
Source: Raphael Minder and Jim Yardley, “Desperation Fuels Trips of Migrants to Spain,” New York Times, October 4, 2013.