WASHINGTON — Terrorists and criminal networks have taken advantage of governmental corruption, the misery of war and other developments to build dangerous empires that might soon eclipse the power of legitimate countries.
In Europe, for instance, human trafficking operations quadrupled in size from 2014 to 2015.
Nine out of every 10 migrants who arrive in European Union countries were brought there by smugglers. Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency announced the details as it launched its new European Migrant Smuggling Center on Monday.
According to the center’s research, more than one million people entered the E.U. illegally in 2015. More than 3,000 died trying to get there on boats and other means of transportation provided by a burgeoning human trafficking empire worth between $3 billion and $6 billion.
“Tackling this huge people-smuggling trade … has become an essential part of the EU’s response to the migrant crisis,” said Rob Wainwright, Europol’s director.
But as Europe scrambles to shut down illegal migrant flows and arrest smugglers, the job might be getting tougher: War rages on; terrorists still kill, and natural resources have grown scarce.
This WTOP article correctly points out the longstanding ties between global terrorism and human trafficking. Terror groups have been making use of established drug and human trafficking routes into Europe and the United States for many years. Although this article focuses primarily on the EU, law enforcement agencies working along the southern US border have noted a marked increase in the number of OTMs (Other Than Mexican) crossing into the US…including many from “Tier 1” threat countries. As this article notes, the current atmosphere of political and economic turmoil around the globe will continue to fuel this illegal migration for years to come, and provide terror networks with the logistical support and cover needed to move operatives into the west.