Between July 1 and August 10, 2013, nearly 9,000 migrants were smuggled into Italy by boat, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry. In the August 2012 to August 2013 time span, over 24,000 migrants entered Italy by boat.
Security officials stated that in most years migrants are originally from sub-Sahara Africa and enter Italy to look for work across the EU. However, in 2012-2013, many of the migrants who were smuggled to Italy by boat were Syrians fleeing the civil war in Syria.
Source: Steve Scherer, “Italy seizes ‘mother ship’ smuggling Syrian refugees,” Reuters, September 12, 2013.