Human trafficking nets $346 million a year for Libyan coastal cities, EU report

In this Aug. 29, 2016 file photo, migrants, most from Eritrea, jump into the water from a crowded wooden boat as they are helped by members of a nongovernmental organization during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, about 13 miles (20 kilometers) north of Sabratha, Libya. A new EU report accessed by The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, says that Libya’s coastal cities are generating up to 325 million euros ($346 million) in revenue each year from people smuggling. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
In this Aug. 29, 2016 file photo, migrants, most from Eritrea, jump into the water from a crowded wooden boat as they are helped by members of a nongovernmental organization during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, about 13 miles (20 kilometers) north of Sabratha, Libya. A new EU report accessed by The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, says that Libya’s coastal cities are generating up to 325 million euros ($346 million) in revenue each year from people smuggling. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

AP – Libya’s coastal cities are making millions each year from people smuggling, a European Union military task force commander in the Mediterranean Sea says in a confidential report.

The report, issued to the EU’s 28 member states Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, illustrates just how much the flow of migrants toward Europe is a central part of the economy in war-torn Libya.

In the report, Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino warned that “migrant smuggling, originating far beyond Libyan borders, remains a major source of income among locals in Libyan coastal cities generating estimated annual revenue of up to 275 to 325 million euros ($292 million to $346 million).”

The report provides no details on how the figure was calculated and EU officials didn’t immediately respond to questions by email or phone Thursday. Tens of thousands of migrants leaving Libya in unseaworthy boats have been picked up in the Mediterranean this year, however, often telling aid workers of the hundreds or thousands of euros they had to pay smugglers in Libya.

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