People Smugglers Offering ‘First-Class’ Passage on Luxury Yachts at €10k Per Illegal Migrant

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 29: An aerial view from a drone shows boats that are being prepared for display at the 60th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on October 29, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The boat show starts tomorrow and is held over five days and features …
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Fresh reports have claimed that people smugglers have been chartering luxury yachts to smuggle migrants from Turkey to Europe for as much as 10,000 euros per person.

Investigators say that the migrants, who mostly come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, pay for a “first-class” experience on a yacht that generally sails from Anatolia in Turkey to the Ionian sea and on to Italy, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.

The Italian province most affected by the “first-class” smuggling phenomenon is Crotone on the east coast. Authorities have reported landings elsewhere in southern Italy such as the region of Calabria.

Most of those who run the smuggling network originates in Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, or Belarus, but Ukrainians make up the majority of the smugglers. Investigators recorded 15 of these types of landings in September and in Calabria alone, and the number is on the rise.

Luxury trips for illegal migrants have been reported in the past when Cameroonian Patou Sedrick claimed in 2017 that Moroccan people smugglers were offering “all-inclusive” packages to reach the Spanish mainland. The deals involved flights to Casablanca, accommodation, and a trip to the Spanish coast.

“Think about it, with several hundreds of refugees you can earn more than a million euros in one day,” Sedrick said after noting that each migrant paid around 4,500 euros for the trip.

In 2018, Greek police arrested five suspected people traffickers from Georgia who were believed to be part of a smuggling ring that used limousines and luxury cars to help get migrants into Europe, charging as much as 3,000 euros per individual.

Since the formation of the unpopular leftist Italian coalition of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD), migration numbers have seen an increase as the government has sought to undo the firm border policies of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

One Tunisian migrant, who was formerly deported by Salvini, arrived back in Italy in October and mocked the populist League leader, saying that he was glad Salvini was gone.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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