Migrants’ smuggling and trafficking for the purpose of exploitation are growing phenomena in Europe, although their scale is uneasy to define. Smuggling and exploitation in destination countries are distinct phases yet often interconnected. Recent investigations show that organised crime is responsible for linking and managing these two phases.
In the past, it was mostly small criminal groups which handled the smuggling networks. According to the findings of Europol, the smugglers often used to be of the same nationality as their victims, although their tendency to collaborate with criminal groups of other nationalities has long been observed. Recently, organised crime deals with new considerations such as the management of migrants’ smuggling to Europe. Investigations have ascertained that the mafia has been steadily communicating with North African clans to manage the highly profitable migrant smuggling business.
Organised crime also plays a key role in the exploitation of migrants whom arrived by sea. Regular reports of landings in consistent identified places suggest that organisations exist and are active on the territory, by providing assistance and logistical support. The exploitation of underground market labour has always been a cornerstone of economic mafia systems.
The Parliamentary Assembly should examine the involvement of organised crime in migrants’ smuggling and exploitation and the means to fight against this phenomenon. Moreover, it should see how to strengthen namely co-operation between judicial and police services and information exchange among member States.