(ANSA) - Rome, May 17 - A joint report published by Europol and Interpol said Tuesday that "in Libya alone, around 800,000 migrants are waiting to travel to the EU". The report said "an increase in the number of migrants trying to reach the EU is expected".
It said migrants departing from Libya often use the Central Mediterranean route arriving in Italy.
This route is mostly used by migrants originating from African countries. "Although there was a decrease of 12% from 2014 to 2015, in 2015 a total of 153,946 illegal entries were detected along this rout," it said The report highlighted several other alarming trends and future risks.
It said these included an increase in cases of human exploitation, especially labour exploitation in the countries of destination of the migrants.
"Forced criminality may increase in the EU, as migrants may be coerced into criminal activities by their facilitators," it continued. "Unaccompanied minors may be further victimised, as they may be sexually exploited, forced to commit criminal activities, or else be involved by smugglers in the recruitment of other potential clients".
The trafficking of asylum seekers to the European Union generated between five and six billion dollars in earnings for criminal networks in 2015, according to an estimate in the joint report. The one million asylum seekers who entered the EU illegally last year paid traffickers between 3,200 and 6,500 dollars on average, it said. "Migrant smuggling networks accrue immense criminal profits," said Europol Director Rob Wainwright in his forward to the report. "In 2015 alone, these organised crime networks generated an estimated USD 5-6 billion from their illegal activities. "These earnings strengthen criminal networks and have a significant negative long-term impact on Europe's economy".
The report said the EU faced an "unprecedented migration crisis" - a large part of the burden of which is being shouldered by Italy - in terms of the number of migrants arriving and the involvement of "ruthless" smuggling networks.
"Intelligence held at Europol indicates that more than 90% of all migrants reaching the European Union use the facilitation services of a migrant smuggling network at some point throughout their journey," the report said. "This is a clear indication that organised crime networks are profiting from mass migration".