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.

In the first six months of 2012, the Department of Immigration in Australia reported apprehending 1,340 people from Sri Lnaka who were attempting to claim asylum.The number of asylum seekers was almost five times the number of total people seized in 2011.

The Australian Navy seized between 6 to 7 boats that were attempting to smuggle people into the country.

Source:  Dinouk Colombage, “Human Smuggling On The Rise In 2012,” Sunday Leader, July 15, 2012.

Migrants in Hon Kong reportedly pay between $26,000 to $45,000 (27,000 to 46,000 Canadian Dollars) to human smugglers to be transported into Canada.

According to court documents, an escort of the smuggling ring who would accompany the individual was making up to $6,850 (7,000 Canadian) a month.

(Click here to see other human smuggling fees)

Source:  Tu Than Ha, “From Hong Kong to Canada: inside a human smuggling plot,” Globe and Mail, July 9, 2012.

Every day, Border Patrol agents in Arizona catch over 300 people attempting to illegally sneak in to the United States from Mexico.

For migrants attempting to enter with the use of a human smuggler, the average fee paid to the smuggler is $5,000.

Source:  “PT Cruiser in green,” CNET, July 5, 2012.


During Fiscal Year 2012, authorities in the Texas region of the Border Patrol found over 2,000 illegal immigrants in over 80 houses where human smugglers stash them during the course of the transport. In the same region in Fiscal Year 2011, authorities found 1,012 illegal immigrants in 69 stash houses.

Customs and Border Patrol officials in the United States find that many of the human smuggling operations were moving towards Texas from Arizona. In Fiscal Year 2008, law enforcement in Phoenix found 3,221 people in 186 human smuggling stash houses. In FY 2011, police apprehended 805 people in 51 stash houses.

Source:  Manny Fernandez, “For Many Illegal Entrants Into U.S., a Particularly Inhospitable First Stop,” New York Times, May 26, 2012.

Police in Colombo, Sri Lanka broke up a human smuggling ring in the country that was smuggling people into Australia. The operators of the ring were charging people $1,500 (200,000 Sri Lanka Rupees) to be smuggled into Australia through a fishing boat.

Click here to see other prices paid by migrants attempting to be illegally smuggled into a country.

Source:  “Sri Lanka police arrest 113 asylum seekers trying to migrate to Australia,” Colombo Page ,May 28, 2012.

Around 90 percent of the illegal immigrants who are smuggled into the European Union enter by crossing the Maritsa (or Evros) river between Turkey and Greece. The migrants pay human smugglers up to $10,000 (7,950 Euros) to guide them into the EU. On heavily traveled days, up to 500 people illegally enter the EU a day through this route.

Worldwide, the black market in human smuggling is worth $20 Billion a year.

Source:  Andres Ulrich, “At the Mercy of the People Smugglers,” Spiegal Online, May 24, 2012.

According to the National Commission on Human Rights in Mexico, kidnappers who hold migrants for ransom in the country earn up to $25 Million in a 6 month time period based upon the average ransom paid. The Commission estimates that up to 10,000 migrants are kidnapped and held for ransom in a 6 month period, with the ransom demand being between $1,500 to $5,000 on average.

Source: Sibylla Brodzinsky, “Migrant Kidnappings in Mexico ‘Systemic’,” Insight Crime, May 11, 2012.

According to Custom Officials from the United Arab Emirates, between 5 to 10 people are caught attempting to be smuggled into Saudi Arabia every day. The human smugglers often attempt to stow away in trucks as the vehicles enter Saudi Arabia.

Source:  Marie-Louise Olson, “People smuggling at Saudi border,” National, April 7, 2012.

Authorities in Austria arrested 9,812 people who were attempting to illegally enter the country in 2011, an increase of 44 percent from 2010.The majority of the people attempting to illegally enter the country were from Afghanistan, Russia and Pakistan.

Police also arrested 288 human smugglers in 2011.  The human smugglers were originally from Greece, Turkey and Austria.

Source:  “Human smuggling on the increase,” Austria Times, March 21, 2012.

Between January and November 2011, over 30,000 people from Afghanistan applied for asylum in countries around the world, according to an investigation by the Associated Press. Many of the who have left Afghanistan are believed to have paid a human smuggler to get them out of the country.

An Afghan pays around a few hundred dollars to be smuggled into neighboring Pakistan or Iran. The price increases to over $25,000 when attempting to be smuggled into London or Stockholm with fake identification.

In total, the human smuggling business out of Afghanistan and Pakistan is estimated to be a $1 Billion a year industry.

Source:  Associated Press, “APNewsBreak: Afghan asylum bids at 10-year high, human smuggling rife as troops begin to leave,” Washington Post, January 21, 2012.