(Quartz) The number of people fleeing war, violence, and persecution broke records last year, with more than a million migrants crossing into Europe in 2015. This influx is big business—human smugglers made an astonishing $7 billion last year.
The occupation has spawned the “fastest-growing criminal market in Europe,” Rob Wainwright, director of European law enforcement agency Europol told a parliamentary hearing in Rome, Italy today (May 4). “The unprecedented inflow of migrants in 2015 led to a swift evolution in the criminal landscape,” he said.
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Wainwright said he was “highly concerned” about possible links between terrorist organizations and migrant smugglers. Europol has not only observed some links in recent cases between suspected terrorists and their movement through migration channels, but is worried that terrorist organization are relying on migrant smuggling as a source of funding.