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Police action against migrant smuggling: report on Italian investigations and Europol press release on safe house "bust"
3.2.17
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An article published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project highlights how the Italian police have adopted methods used against the mafia in their efforts against migrant smuggling networks operating from sub-Saharan African countries, while a recent Europol press release highlights the "busting" of a "migrant safe house" in Budapest during harmonised operations in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary and Romania.

ITALY: In Sicily, Anti-Mafia Skills Used in the Fight Against People Smugglers (OCCRP, link):

"Law enforcement has known for the past half-decade that smugglers have used complex networks that reach deep into Africa and Europe. Despite this, those arrested have typically been low-level operatives picked up as they come ashore.

But that is changing. Since mid-2015, Italian authorities have launched a series of operations, named Glauco, that have begun to unveil the structure of violent smuggling networks. In three stages, police and prosecutors based out of Sicily, under the supervision of the National Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA), have arrested more than 70 smugglers, including those responsible for coordinating and financing operations."

And: Migrant Smuggling - Major irregular migrant safe house busted (Europol press release, pdf):

"On 1 February, six EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary and Romania) harmonised their law enforcement interventions to disrupt ongoing migrant smuggling activities. During the joint action day, which aimed to dismantle organised crime groups smuggling migrants into the EU and within the Schengen area, the following actions were carried out...

After the closure of the Western Balkan route last year, there is now an increased risk of stranded migrants being hidden in illegal safe houses until they can be moved further on by organised crime groups. Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre plays a decisive role in proactively supporting EU Member States to target and dismantle organised crime networks involved in migrant smuggling."

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