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.

A man in the US State of Florida was selling counterfeit Cuban birth certificates to illegal immigrants in the United States. Due to US immigration policy, Cuban nationals are able to apply for a green card after one year of being in the country.

The man was selling fake Cuban birth certificates to migrants from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Each migrant was already in the United States illegally, and paid between $10,000 to $50,000 for the fake documents. By possessing the fake Cuban birth certificates, the migrants attempted to pass off as Cuban nationals to US immigration officials.

According to court documents, the man sold around 50 fake birth certificates and made over $500,000.

(Additional prices to buy fake id and birth certificates.)

Source: Alfonso Chardy, “Feds find scores of counterfeit Cuban ‘green cards’,” Bradenton Herald, August 26, 2013.

Across Great Britain, there are roughly 30,000 nail salons as of 2013.

Between 2008 and 2013, police raided around 100 of the salons for human trafficking charges and other  immigration violations. During the course of those investigations, security personnel identified 150 workers who were in violation of immigration laws, and over $1 Million (£700,000) in fines was levied.

Victims told the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom that they paid up to $31,000 (£20,000) to human smugglers in order to be smuggled from Vietnam to the country. When they could not pay the smuggling fee, the migrants were then forced to work in the nail salons.

Source:  Rebecca Seales, “The slave trade of British nail bars: How victims of human trafficking from Vietnam are exploited in beauty salons and forced into prostitution,” Daily Mail, August 18, 2013.

In August 2013, a human smuggling gang operating in Spain and France was broken up by police. The smuggling gang was charging Chinese migrants over $53,000 (€40,000) per person to be smuggled into Europe. The migrants would eventually settle in the United Kingdom or the United States.

Included in the fee would be fake passports and instructions on how to act like a tourist to avoid extra attention at border checkpoints.

The $53,000 fee is in line with previous reports made by the United Nations on Drugs and Crime, which stated that Chinese migrants pay around $50,000 to be smuggled into the United States.

(See all human smuggling prices charged by smugglers.)

Source:  “‘Human trafficking ring’ broken up,” BBC News, August 10, 2013.


Between October 2001 and June 2012, the Australian Crime Commission reported that 964 people died while attempting to reach Australia for asylum purposes.

605 of the deaths occurred between October 2009 and June 2012.

A majority of the people who died who were attempting to reach Australia originated from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The number of people who have been seeking asylum by boat in Australia has been increasing each year. In 2008-2009, a reported 985 people landed in Australia. In 2009-2010, criminal justice programs reported 5,327 landings, which, dropped slightly to 4,750 in 2010-2011, and then doubled to 8,092 people in 2011-2012.

Source:  “People Smuggling Has Led To Almost 1,000 Deaths, Says Report,” Bernama, July 30, 2013.

According to security officials in Australia, the indoor marijuana growing industry in the country is worth $1.85 Million (2 Million Australian Dollars) per year.

The marijuana is grown by organized crime gangs that use empty residential houses to grow the illicit drug on a commercial scale. Immigration officials state that many people from Vietnam are brought over to the country by human smugglers in order to work in the cannabis cultivation industry.

Police in Victoria stated that nearly 50 percent of people who were charged for marijuana cultivation were from Vietnam.

Source:  Samantha Maiden, “Crime syndicates importing Vietnamese asylum seekers to grow marijuana and work in brothels,”, July 28, 2013.

A human smuggler in Thailand can make a profit of $320 (10,000 Thai Baht) for each Myanmar adult that is smuggled into Thailand. The profit is based after the costs that the smuggler must pay, such as bribes and costs associated with operating their boat.

The costs of the bribes when paying police and security service officials are as follows:

Thai navy boats usually earn about $65 (2,000 baht) for allowing a smuggling boat to pass through without action, and police in Thailand collect $160 (5,000 baht) for each migrant, or $6,100 (500,000 baht) for a boat filled with 100 migrants.

(More corruption in police services here.)

Source:  Padang Besar, “Thai authorities implicated in Rohingya Muslim smuggling network,” Reuters, July 17, 2013.

A migrant who has illegally crossed the US-Mexico border on numerous occasions told the Mexican media that human smugglers were charging between $3,000 to $20,000 to bring migrants across the border.

The difference in prices charged were due to the type of service and documents the migrant was to receive. At the lower end of the price scale, the human smuggler would help the migrant jump the border fence and guide them to safety.

For paying smuggler $20,000, the migrant would be able to obtain original, legal documentation and assistance from US Border Patrol Agents who have been corrupted by the human smugglers.

(Prices paid to human smugglers around the world.)

Source:  James Bargent, “Migrants Pay Up to $20,000 to Cross US-Mexico Border,” Insight Crime, July 9, 2013.

There are an estimated 2 to 3 million undocumented workers in Saudi Arabia.

575,000 illegal workers were deported from the Kingdom in 2012, and an addition 200,000 were deported in the first three months of 2013.

Source:  Nandagopal J. Nair, “Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on illegal immigrants is a boon for local businesses,” Quartz, June 24, 2013.

An estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants from Bolivia and Paraguay and 45,000 from Peru live in the Sao Paulo area of Brazil.

Security officials in Brazil report that many of the illegal immigrants in the country use the services of human smugglers to enter the country and then fall victim to labor traffickers.

Police highlighted a case of 80 laborers from Bangladesh were rescued from forced-labor conditions in Brazil. The 80 migrants paid a human smuggler $10,000 to be smuggled from Bangladesh to Brazil.

(More human smuggling fees and prices.)

Official data from criminal justice programs in Brazil state that around 44,000 people have been rescued from forced labor conditions in Brazil between 1995 and 2013.

Source:  Astrid Prange, “Growth makes Brazil a hub for human trafficking,” Deutsche Welle, June 4, 2013.

Authorities in the United Kingdom broke up a human smuggling ring that was moving people from Sri Lanka into the country.

The human smuggling ring was charging each Sri Lankan up to $6,825 (£4,500) to be smuggled illegally into the United Kingdom.

Source:  “Arrests made in illegal immigrant smuggling raid,” BBC News, May 22, 2013.