European Union (EU) Member States continue to be a target for migrant smuggling facilitation services. European law enforcement agencies have to cope with increasingly exploitative criminal activities, associated with violence and serious harm to the life and well-being of irregular migrants.
At times of reduced migration flows at EU external borders, the facilitation of illegal immigration within the EU poses a particular growing challenge. Migrant smuggling in secondary movements threatens the integrity of the Schengen Area of free movement and the internal security of the EU. This is reflected in the increasing number of cross-border criminal investigations supported by Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre.