People-smuggling profits at historic high, EU concedes

EUobserver, 28 November 2023.

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"When pressed on how a decade of ideas and proposals to curb the smuggling business has actually led to a historic profits among smugglers, the European Commission was unable to provide answers.

"We have to understand this in a broader context of organised criminal landscape," responded Ylva Johansson, the EU's home affairs commissioner.

Asked if state-perpetrated pushbacks created business opportunities for smugglers, Johansson said EU states had an obligation to protect their borders.

An internal report the EU's police agency Europol, cited by London-based NGO Statewatch, says the demand for people-smugglers has indeed increased. But it also says this demand "is fuelled by increased 'push factors' in key regions of origin, combined with the increase in technical obstacles."

Statewatch says those "technical obstacles" include border walls, surveillance technologies, and other forms of border controls that fall within the remit of the EU and its member states."

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