The Price of Escape: How Much Do Smugglers Charge Refugees and Migrants for Passage to Europe?

migrantsNow that borders with Greece are closing one after another, and as more refugees and migrants are being trapped in the country despite the fact that the EUTurkey agreement has become effective for several days now, one “business sector” is flourishing rapidly at the expense of people’s’ lives: that of migrant smuggling.

Refugee and migrant smuggling has been ongoing for months now, ever since the early signs of the refugee crisis. However, with security measures tightening due to the recent terrorist attacks and as various European countries are turning their backs against the refugee and migrant issue, migrant trafficking found the ground to boom its business; as the level of difficulty to get into Europe goes up, the price of the passage goes up as well.

Refugees and migrants nowadays need thousands of euros in order to get into a European country, as the journey is illegal. The traffic market is once again out and about in Athens and the “haggling” starts in Victoria Square, according to a revealing feature by the Wall Street Journal.

According to WSJ’s article, the price-list of human smugglers in Athens in order to transfer refugees and migrants from Greece through several Balkan and European countries to their final destination, consists of these prices:

  • Truck and ship to Italy: €1,000 to €1,200
  • Foot and car to Germany or Switzerland, via Balkans: €1,500 to €2,000
  • Foot and car to Norway or Sweden, via Balkans: about €2,500
  • Truck to Germany, via Balkans: about €2,500
  • Plane to Germany, Norway or Sweden: €3,500 to €5,000
  • Plane to Canada: about €14,000

The combination of closed borders and unrestrained migration has turned Victoria Square and the Piraeus port into the center of a barely disguised human-trafficking business, according to the WSJ piece. Many smugglers come from the same countries as the refugees and migrants, while others come from Greece and the Balkans. Smugglers try to stay away from policemen who have been patrolling the areas day and night since March, as an operation to put an end to refugee and migrant trafficking has commenced.