Human Smuggling

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.

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 fake identification.

(More prices 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.

Security agents 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.

In 2013, wildlife charities 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, criminal justice 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 Morocco. 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.

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.

(Costs to be smuggled into a foreign country.)

Source:  Steve Scherer, “Italy seizes ‘mother ship’ smuggling Syrian refugees,” Reuters, September 12, 2013.

People smugglers operating in Australia were charging asylum seekers up to $10,000 to be smuggled into Australia, according to reports from criminal justice programs.

In 2012, police identified 278 boats that was carrying  asylum seekers and operated by people smugglers. In the first six months of 2013, nearly 196 boats were identified by police.

Data from various criminal justice programs across the country found that most of the people paying smugglers to be brought into Australia originate from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

(Additional prices charged by human smugglers.)

Source:  “Arrests over people-smuggling in Australia,” Al Jazeera, August 29, 2013.

The Government of Israel estimates that over 10,000 immigrants illegally entered the country in 2012. Criminal justice officials believe that most of the immigrants were from African countries such as Eritrea and Sudan.

Many of the immigrants hire the use of human smugglers to guide them across the Sinai peninsula, yet do not complete the journey. During the course of several years, over 500 remains of African migrants have been found the in the desert abandoned.

Source:  Adrian Kriesch, “Egypt’s chaos fuels Africa’s human trafficking,” Deutsche Welle, August 27, 2013.