This year, approximately 3,000 migrants have drowned or disappeared while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
During 2014–2016 approximately 10,000 migrants drowned or disappeared while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
Most migrants are transported by inflatable boats. The boats are packed full; for example 30 to 40 migrants are squeezed into a boat only 10 meters tall.
The risk of dying during transportation is high. Human smugglers don’t take part in the journey – in most cases they merely collect their money before the journey begins.
Human smuggling is not charity work – it is highly profitable business. Last year the estimated criminal turnover was approximately USD 5.5 billion.
There are around 40,000 human smugglers in the world.
Today most of human smuggling is operated by organized crime groups seeking criminal opportunities in large migration hubs.
Human smuggling can be a lucrative addition to the already existing business like trafficking weapons and drugs, committing crimes against property and counterfeiting documents.
Migrants who are unable to pay for their trip in full to the human smugglers may be forced to work during their transfer. Forced labor might go on for weeks or even months.
Vulnerable migrants like women, children and poor people are at risk of exploitation and becoming victims of forced labor, violence and sexual abuse. They might be also forced to commit crimes like theft or drug smuggling.
Children traveling with siblings or parents are sometimes separated from their family already as the journey begins. A total of 10,000 underage migrants have disappeared after their journey to Europe.
As a result of tightened border control millions of people have been stuck in refugee camps for months. The camps often lack sufficient access to food, water and medicine.
In the case of asylum seeking, processing the asylum application may take several months and being granted a refugee status is not certain. A negative asylum decision results in deportation.