Human migration is not a new phenomenon.

For centuries, people have left their homes in search of better lives elsewhere. In the last decade, the process of globalisation has enhanced the ‘push-pull’ factors which drive migrants’ desires to seek more gainful employment abroad. This has caused an unprecedented amount of migration from the least developed countries of Asia, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe to Western Europe, Australia and North America. Criminal networks which smuggle human beings for financial gain increasingly control the flow of migrants across borders. Due to more restrictive immigration policies in destination countries and improved technology to monitor border crossings, willing illegal migrants rely increasingly on the help of organized people smugglers. People smuggling is not a homogenous criminal activity; the price of the trip, conditions of travel and status upon arrival can vary significantly. Trafficking is distinct from smuggling insofar as the traffic of human beings involves the exploitation of the migrant, often for purposes of forced labour and prostitution. People smuggling simply implies the procurement, for financial or material gain, of the illegal entry into a state of which the individual is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. It is acknowledged that the smuggling of people is a growing global phenomenon. It is not only a transnational crime, but also an enormous violation of human rights and a contemporary form of slavery. Currently, economic instability appears to be the main reason for illegal migration movement throughout the world. Nevertheless, many of the willing migrants undertake the hazardous travel to their destination country with criminal syndicates specialised in people smuggling. These syndicates arrange everything for the migrants, but at a high price. Very often the travelling conditions are inhumane: the migrants are overcrowded in trucks or boats and fatal accidents occur frequently. After their arrival in the destination country, their illegal status puts them at the mercy of their smugglers, which often force the migrants to work for years in the illegal labour market to pay off the debts incurred as a result of their transportation. People smuggling syndicates still benefit from weak legislation, huge profits and the relatively low risk of detection, prosecution and arrest compared to other activities of transnational organized crime. This creates the need for a structure which enables police and other law enforcement agencies to co-operate on a global basis. INTERPOL fulfills that role, and considerable efforts are being made to develop the services which it can offer. Smuggling routes -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Changing methods of people-smuggling networks as a response to legislative and law enforcement activities are necessary for their survival. Flexibility is thus one of the main characteristics of transportation and the choice of routes. This means that the routes used by people smugglers may sometimes be simple and direct, at other times circuitous. The time between departure and arrival may vary from some days to several months or even years. Smuggling is carried out by land, air or sea. The following outlines some examples of routes frequently used for people

smuggling. Migrants from the Asian region mainly use the route via Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to Russia and from there, via Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, to western European countries or even further to the United States and Canada. At the same time, the Balkan route from Asian countries via Iran and Turkey and from there, via Balkan states, to Western Europe is used for the smuggling of migrants as well as other kinds of illegal goods such as drugs, firearms, etc. Especially during summer months, Spain has to face the arrival of thousands of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. These willing immigrants undertake the hazardous trip to travel from Morocco to southern Spain through the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, where only 21 kilometres separate Europe and Africa. Many people travelling in small, overcrowded boats have drowned attempting to reach Europe. Australia is also facing a growing number of illegal immigrants, mostly from the Middle East and southern Asia, landing at its western coasts and especially on Christmas Island, which is located relatively close to the Indonesian archipelago. Most of the refugees from Asia first enter Malaysia, where they are taken to the south before making a short ferry crossing to the Indonesian island of Batam. From there, it is not difficult to reach Jakarta and go on to the southern Indonesian islands of Bali, Flores or Lombok, where they embark for Australia. Smuggling migrants to the United States is mostly achieved by putting them on planes. Ships with migrants on board are mainly bound for the West Coast, but the use of this route has dropped considerably. Smuggling networks seem to focus more and more on Central and South America, where they maintain the necessary links to Mexican people smugglers in order to move the illegal migrants via Mexico to North America. Trends -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Increases in illegal immigration from Western Africa to Europe In 2006 nearly 31,000 illegal immigrants-half of which were Senegalese- flocked to the Canary Islands of Spain. The Canary Islands are targeted due to their proximity to Western Africa and perceived as an open door to Europe. The illegal immigrants tend to travel in crowded open boats not at all intended for travel in open seas at such great distances. As a result, many perish on route. The routes toward the Canary Islands from Western Africa are flexible and organic, depending on controls. The migrants and facilitators are generally amateurs of same ethnic origin of those they are smuggling. This form of illegal immigration poses great challenges to the international law enforcement community and has great ramifications for policy and legislation regarding immigration. Iraqi Illegal Immigration on the Rise Since 2003 there has been significant displacement of Iraqis with a notable rise in figures as of 2006. Although the majority have fled to neighboring Jordan and Syria, there has also been significant movement to Europe, the US and Australia. Because legal migration from Iraq is complicated, people smugglers around the

globe are profiting and have created a network of organized crime to facilitate the illegal immigration of Iraqis. INTERPOL is currently supporting the investigation of a particular case of a complex network of organized crime of people smuggling with involvement from different corners of the world. A working group meeting gathering the main Member Countries involved in the case was held at the IPSG in Lyon in March 2007. IPSG is keeping abreast of the smuggling of Iraqis and will provide operational and technical support as needed.