At Least 57 People Dead As Smugglers’ Boat Sinks

( – Human smuggling is an issue that impacts many parts of the world, including Africa and Europe. Many West Africans are willing to risk their lives to make it to Europe in highly unsafe conditions.

We saw the latest tragic example of how this can go wrong on Monday, July 26, when at least 57 people drowned off the coast of Libya after a boat carrying migrants capsized. The Libyan coastguard rescued 18 people. The shipwreck is among the worst so far in 2021. Year-to-date, over 1,000 journeyers have drowned while trying to make their way to Europe.

Human smuggling is a massive money-making operation for criminals in North Africa and Europe. Many times, dealers overfill unseaworthy rafts with people, making thousands of euros in the process. Often, the journey starts in the dangerous waters of the night or during storms in Libya or Tunisia. Traveling in substandard conditions helps human smugglers evade detection by authorities.

While law enforcement agents arrest the smugglers when they can, most criminals never pay for their crimes. According to the United Nations, migrant smuggling increased from 34,000 in 2020 to 27,000 in the first half of 2021.

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