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.

Published reports have stated that the as many as 500,000 North Koreans may have been to China and returned back to North Korea over the past ten years.


Every year, between 8,000 to 10,000 North Koreans illegally cross into China.

(More about North Korea’s black market.)


In FY07, 870,000 illegal immigrants were arrested by the US Border Patrol agents at the border.



In the border crossing area of Arizona alone, State Officials believe that the human smuggling business is worth $2 billion a year.


Of the 6.2 Million unauthorized migrants in the United States, over 90% of people crossing the Mexican border in the late 1990’s were believed to have paid a guide for their services.

(Human smuggling fees paid by migrants.)


According to author Moises Naim, the FBI estimates that  the Mexican people trade earns the networks $6 to $9 billion each year.

(Estimated size of the world black market.)


A Guatemalan human smuggling ring was charging people between $1,200 to $3,700 to smuggle them into the United States. The organization was smuggling up to 100 humans to Los Angeles each week.

Source: “Vast immigrant smuggling ring smashed in L.A.,” Reuters,February 28, 2008.

A Turkish human smuggling gang was charging Chinese nationals $41,800 to be smuggled across Asia and Europe and into Britain. The journey would take up to 18 months.

Source:  AFP, “Police smash Turkish people-smuggling ring,” Google News, January 31, 2008.

Around 1.5 Million illegal immigrants are living in Malaysia.

Those who are arrested are taken to the border of Thailand where they pay human smugglers $450 to be taken back into Malaysia.

Source: Seth Mydans, “Foreign workers face campaign of brutality in Malaysia,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

More than 50,000 people from Africa reached the southern shores of Europe in 2006. Those that paid a human smuggler to guide them into Europe paid the smugglers between $2,000 to$5,000, depending on the origins of the person.

Source: “Destination Europe,” BBC News, September 7, 2007.