Tag Archives: human smugglers

Kurz regards Egypt as key partner in defeating human trafficking

Salzburg – After the Salzburg summit, the EU intends to deepen its migration cooperation with Egypt and other African countries. President of the European Council Donald Tusk said there was agreement to hold a summit with the Arab League in Egypt in February. On Thursday, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) described Egypt as exemplary in the fight against illegal migration and smuggling.

Kurz added that it was also the EU’s wish to have a dialogue with Egypt on economic development. Tusk also said that – in the end – the intention was to have “a broader partnership”. He planned to advance those ideas as early as this Sunday at a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in New York.

According to Sebastian Kurz, Egypt was not in favour of refugee centres. The country was, however, “very efficient in its fight against illegal migration”. In the past two years, no more refugee ships from Egypt had reached Europe. The Federal Chancellor also regarded the “disembarkation platforms” for migrants, decided by the EU last June and rejected by Egypt, as not necessary. The decisive point in this issue was to make sure that as few people as possible set out illegally from Northern Africa to Europe.

Sebastian Kurz continued by saying that nowadays hardly any rescue operations took place in the EU coastal area, with the operations happening close to the African coast. The legal obligation to bring people to Europe only arose once those people entered European coastal waters. He supported Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, in his criticism of the current practice of rescuing refugees. “Nobody can say that this policy has saved lives”, Chancellor Kurz declared. “A new system is needed”, which could be initiated by strong partners in Africa. Three years ago one would have been denounced as right-wing or a right-wing radical for uttering such ideas, said Sebastian Kurz.

Channel human smuggler arrested in UK

A suspect wanted by Antwerp’s authorities for his connection with an alleged people smuggling network was arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency in close cooperation with Belgian law enforcement.

British national Saman Sdiq (33) was arrested at his home address in the UK  September, 17. He is suspected of providing vehicles from the UK to the criminal network of which several other alleged members have already been arrested and are in custody in Belgium.

Authorities believe the network collected migrants around Calais and took them into Belgium, before loading them into lorries near the town of Postel, near the Dutch-Belgian border. From there they transported migrants across the Channel.

Belgian prosecutors believe they have identified more than 15 attempts to smuggle illegal migrants between November 2017 and April 2018. On a number of occasions illegals, including minors and young children, were found hidden in the cargo space of the trucks.

 “Belgium and the UK stand firm on stamping out this sort of crime and the horrendous ill-treatment of the vulnerable. The condition in which smuggled migrants are made to travel long distances is appalling. We will continue to find those responsible and punish them” – said British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose.



Europol fighting migrant smugglers

APTOPIX Europe Migrants

In this photo taken on Sunday, April 17, 2016 migrants ask for help from a dinghy boat as they are approached by the SOS Mediterranee’s ship Aquarius, background, off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The European Union’s border agency says the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy more than doubled last month. Frontex said in a statement on Monday that almost 9,600 migrants attempted the crossing, one of the most perilous sea voyages for people seeking sanctuary or jobs in Europe. (Patrick Bar/SOS Mediterranee via AP)

“Over 90% of all migrants that reach the EU have used the facilitation services of a migrant smuggling network. These organised crime networks are taking mass profits from mass migration, and making migrant smuggling the fastest growing criminal sector. To tackle this, we have brought together some of the best investigators in Europe in the EMSC,” – said Rob Wainwright, Europol Director, assessing one year of work of the European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC).

The increasing involvement of organised criminal networks in facilitating illegal immigration in recent times called for an enhanced and coordinated response from European law enforcement agencies. Europol was tasked with strengthening its capabilities and launched the EMSC in February 2016. During the first year, the EMSC’s 45 migrant smuggling specialists and analysts comprehensively supported European police and border control authorities in coordinating highly complex cross-border anti-smuggling operations. The centre focuses on geographical criminal hotspots, and on building a better capability across the EU to fight organised people smuggling networks operating in them.

“Migrant smuggling is a phenomenon that transcends national borders and can only be eradicated through effective partnerships across and beyond the European Union. From the very beginning, the European Migrant Smuggling Centre with Europol has played a central role for the EU and its immediate neighbourhood in successfully fighting, disrupting and apprehending criminal migrant smuggling networks,” – Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.


Europol: Pakistani traffickers face justice



Law enforcement authorities of Germany, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia, in strong cooperation with Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre, have dismantled an organised crime group that arranged smuggling of migrants from Hungary to Italy.

Coordinated investigations revealed that members of the smuggling network were Pakistani citizens who formed their criminal enterprise in Italy. More than 100 migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan were smuggled by them in the last couple of years, to destinations in Italy or Germany.

On each occasion between 20 and 36 migrants were transported, hidden in the cargo bays of minivans. The perpetrators rented their vehicles in either Italy or Hungary using fake documents. The illegal transportation was always secured by lead cars, which were also rental vehicles.

Recruiters were extremely vigilant; migrants and drivers never saw each other. Migrants were first loaded into vehicles in abandoned streets and the driver arrived afterwards. The criminals always tried to mitigate risks to avoid higher penalties.

After several smuggling incidents were detected in Germany, Italy and Slovenia, a joint investigation was launched. Fingerprints collected at a crime scene in Germany matched the fingerprints of an already imprisoned suspect in Slovenia. This suspect – believed to be one of the key facilitators – was extradited to Hungary to be prosecuted as the leader of an organised crime group.

The two Pakistani leaders of the migrant smuggling organised crime group have been charged in Hungary, while other leaders are being prosecuted in Italy. More drivers have already been sentenced in Germany and Slovenia.

The investigations were carried out by the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation, Italian Carabinieri – ROS, German Federal Police and Slovenian National Police, and required close international cooperation. The European Migrant Smuggling Centre supported these investigations with its analytical capabilities and by hosting operational meetings.