Human Trafficking is at its Highest Level
The activities of criminal networks engaged in human smuggling and trafficking are constantly increasing. In the light of the refugee crisis it has now become one of the fastest growing and most lucrative organized crime activity. Indeed, refugees who are very vulnerable people are often at the mercy of criminal gangs. Recent reports by the EC concluded that nearly 90% of refugees or economic migrants had paid gangs to reach Europe. And these criminals are taking advantage of the current migration crisis to coerce more people into sex work or forced labour. It must be stressed that sex-exploitation remains by far -67%- the main purposed for human trafficking. The situation is even more dramatic when the victims of such trafficking are young children. Several alarming reports highlight that children aged between 6 months and 10 years are bought and sold for amounts between €4,000 and €8,000. And it is precisely in the context of this grave migratory crisis that tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have "dropped of the radar" of official authorities across Europe. About €4 billion: this is the estimated profit realized last year by these criminal networks that exploit the misery of refugees. It is therefore not surprising that law enforcement agencies have found evidence that criminals who were predominantly active in drug trafficking were taking an increasing interest in human trafficking.