“Over 90% of all migrants that reach the EU have used the facilitation services of a migrant smuggling network. These organised crime networks are taking mass profits from mass migration, and making migrant smuggling the fastest growing criminal sector. To tackle this, we have brought together some of the best investigators in Europe in the EMSC,” – said Rob Wainwright, Europol Director, assessing one year of work of the European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC).
The increasing involvement of organised criminal networks in facilitating illegal immigration in recent times called for an enhanced and coordinated response from European law enforcement agencies. Europol was tasked with strengthening its capabilities and launched the EMSC in February 2016. During the first year, the EMSC’s 45 migrant smuggling specialists and analysts comprehensively supported European police and border control authorities in coordinating highly complex cross-border anti-smuggling operations. The centre focuses on geographical criminal hotspots, and on building a better capability across the EU to fight organised people smuggling networks operating in them.
“Migrant smuggling is a phenomenon that transcends national borders and can only be eradicated through effective partnerships across and beyond the European Union. From the very beginning, the European Migrant Smuggling Centre with Europol has played a central role for the EU and its immediate neighbourhood in successfully fighting, disrupting and apprehending criminal migrant smuggling networks,” – Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.