Human traffickers shift routes to avoid raids
İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
AA photoHuman traffickers are changing their illegal trafficking routes to Europe depending on the density of the controls on the Aegean coasts, where 96 percent of all illegal passages to Europe are being done.
Human traffickers prefer the suitable bays and beaches of Turkey’s Aegean coast when sending hundreds of migrants to Greek islands in inflatable boats.
The traffickers monitor the moves of Turkish coast guards, police and gendarmerie forces in order to find the most suitable time and place so as to avoid raids from authorities. When the coast guards start to increase their raids in certain locations on the coasts, the traffickers turn to other routes.
The traffickers who were working in Istanbul and the western province of İzmir in the spring 2015 changed their route to the resort town of Ayvalık in the Balıkesir province during the summer, where the main destination of migrants was the Greek island of Lesbos. After patrolling increased in this area, traffickers moved their operations to İzmir’s Çeşme and Dikili districts.
Human traffickers charge between 1,000 and 5,000 Turkish Liras for migrants who desperately want to reach Europe for better opportunities.
According to the data, some 96 percent of all illegal migrant crossings are done through the Aegean Sea, due to their advantageous geographical location. Turkey’s Aegean coasts are close to many Greek islands with Lesbos only 5 miles away and Kos is only 3 miles away. Chios is 4.2 miles away from the resort town of Çeşme while the Greek island of Samos is only one kilometer away from Turkey. Greece’s island of Symi is only 3.8 miles away, while Rhodes is one of the farther islands, about 10 miles away. All these islands are widely used by traffickers and migrants even in winter, despite deteriorating weather conditions.