Criminals take advantage of people seeking a better life and facilitate their illegal entry to a country.
People smuggling syndicates are run like businesses, with high profit margins and relatively low risks.
Hundreds of thousands of people leave their home countries every year to escape conflict and poverty. Many are willing to take desperate measures in the hopes of finding a better life.
Transnational organized crime groups know this and take advantage of people’s desperation. They facilitate the passage of migrants with little or no regard for their safety and wellbeing. What matters is the money.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that at least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, generating nearly USD 7 billion for people smugglers.
People smuggling is closely tied to the use of fraudulent travel documents and is linked to other crimes such as illicit money flows, corruption, terrorism, trafficking in illicit goods and human trafficking.
At INTERPOL, our activities focus on identifying and arresting the criminals involved in smuggling, but not the migrants themselves. Our response includes:
- Operations to dismantle the criminal networks behind people smuggling and related crimes;
- Specialized training for frontline officers in our member countries;
- Investigative support for complex international cases;
- The INTERPOL Specialized Operational Network of experts on smuggling.
People smuggling syndicates are run like businesses, with extensive and complex networks.
We offer investigative support to tackle the criminal networks behind people smuggling.
We combine training with operational support to help law enforcement officials detect people smugglers.
Cross-sector coordination is essential for sustainable action against migrant smuggling.