MADRID (AP) – Spanish police say they have arrested 11 people suspected of forming part of a human trafficking ring transporting migrants across the Mediterranean Sea in small boats unfit for the open water.
Police said Wednesday that the suspects recruited Moroccan adults and minors seeking to reach Europe.
Police said the migrants had to each pay 3,500-6,500 euros ($3,922-$7,284) to be packed into a small dingy “without any safety measures.”
Once in Spain, police say, the migrants were taken to safe houses run by the trafficking ring where they were forcibly kept until the payment of another 1,000 euros. After paying, they were given clothes, a mobile phone and a bus ticket to another destination in Spain or Europe.
Spain has become the biggest entry point for unauthorized migration to Europe.