People smugglers are making about $35 billion a year worldwide though thousands of migrants are dying before they make it to Europe where they hope for a better life, the head of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing said today.
He told Reuters that some 1 700 have already died so far this year before the summer when many more often make the journey. Last year 5 000 died and 3 700 failed to make it in 2015.
“Now, let’s be careful because those are the people we know who died, how many other bodies are submerged in the Mediterranean or buried in the sands of the Sahara?” Swing told Reuters.
“That’s the tragedy and this is why we are so concerned to try to caution migrants about smugglers. The smugglers are really the big problem. It’s about $35 billion a year (that people smugglers make) and we know they’re making lots of money across the Mediterranean.”
People smuggling now represents the third-largest business for international criminals, after gun and drug trafficking, he said.