European Law Monitor

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New ways to fight migrant smuggling

In human history, people have always moved. But never before has the smuggling business been so profitable, and so deadly. Human mobility is a fact of  life. Migrant smuggling should not be. It can be defeated. It is a matter of political will. And we can only succeed together.”

Commission President von der Leyen

Every year, thousands of lives are lost because of migrant smuggling. To fight this deadly criminal activity, the Commission has launched the Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling. This Alliance will focus on prevention, response and alternatives to irregular migration, including addressing the root causes of irregular migration and facilitating legal pathways.

The Commission is also proposing to update EU rules to prevent and fight migrant smuggling by

  • further harmonising rules in EU countries, criminalising the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and stay of non-EU nationals, and increasing penalties for the smugglers
  • reinforcing the role of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, in the fight against migrant smuggling, by increasing the financial and human resources at its disposal

Fuelled by crises around the world, criminal migrant smuggling into the EU, which attracts desperate people with lies, is reaching new heights. Criminal organisations who use land, sea and air routes, typically squeeze hundreds of people onto small boats, when travelling by sea. This has resulted in a staggering 28,000 people drowning or missing in the Mediterranean Sea since 2014. The tragic loss of human life must stop.

For more information

International Conference on a Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling

New Pact on Migration and Asylum

Migrant smuggling

Factsheet on EU stepping up the fight against migrant smuggling

Press release: Commission launches a Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling and proposes a strengthened EU legal framework

Speech by President von der Leyen at the International Conference on a Global Alliance to Counter Smuggling

Copyright European Union