According to the head of one of France’s most prominent asylum seeker support organisations, the global network of human traffickers which aid migrants across borders into Europe and elsewhere constitute a $32 billion (£25bn) industry.
“it is absolutely necessary to crack these various networks that thrive on the misery and credulity of a certain number of people and it is to be hoped that the victims will be protected,” Pierre Henry, director general of the asylum seeker support association Terre d’Asile, said.
“Exploitation today includes, in addition to sexual exploitation, labour, forced services, slavery, servitude and even organ harvesting. The thing to keep in mind is that it is very lucrative,” Henry added, Franceinfo reports.
Henry claimed that an increasing number of criminals are seeing human trafficking as a more viable way to make money compared to other forms of trafficking like drugs.
“The cost of a passage is relatively expensive,” he noted claiming that if a trip to a country like France cost 10,000 euros then a trafficker would likely charge as much as 40,000. In order to pay the money back, Henry said, many are forced into begging on the streets or prostitution.
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“I recall that it is mostly women who are victims of trafficking. The UN estimates that 84 percent of the victims of trafficking in the world are women,” he said.
His statements match many other reports, such as one in Italy from 2016 which claimed that thousands of migrant women from Nigeria were being forced into prostitution to repay debts.
An investigation by German media revealed that security guards at asylum centres were also forcing young, often underage, migrants into prostitution as well.
Perhaps the most disturbing report involving people traffickers came in 2016 when the mobile phone of the notorious migrant trafficking kingpin Medhanie Yehdego Mered showed not only that organ harvesting was occurring but also that traffickers may have been engaging in cannibalism, as well.