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Addressing facilitation of irregular migration by boats departing from North-Africa: EMN Inform

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This EMN Inform summarises the main findings of the EMN Ad-Hoc Query (AHQ) on Measures implemented / planned by EU Mediterranean Member States to prevent irregular migration by means of boats departing from North-Africa.

The AHQ gathered existing evidence on the facilitation of irregular migration by sea to the European Union perpetrated by facilitators (affiliated, or not, to organised criminal groups (OCGs), focussing specifically on the sea route from North Africa. Evidence collected was complemented by desk analysis and literature review.

Key points to note:

  • Smuggling of migrants by sea constitutes a pressing humanitarian and political issue, while remaining a rather under-reported area of research.
  • The main objective of international and EU legal instruments is to fight against smugglers who profit from the situation of immigrants, rather than to target immigrants themselves.
  • Modus operandi are diversified, depending on political, economic and geographical factors. Itineraries evolve rapidly in response to competitive smuggling networks, national policies or border controls.
  • Given the clandestine nature of smuggling, data are only indicative of the scale of the phenomenon: however, trends or surges in the number of arrivals testify to the trans-nationality of this crime as well as the relevance of the Route from North-Africa.
Author: European Migration Network
Publisher: Directorate General Home Affairs, European Commission
Date of Publication: 31 August 2014
Geographical focus: EU Mediterranean; North Africa

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