NEW: Illegal immigrants preferred smuggling route… luxury yachts

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Ukranian traffickers are now smuggling illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Asia to Europe via luxury yachts, according to new reports.

European border agency Frontex, along with Italian authorities, have recently intercepted several yachts each carrying about 30 immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Iraq.  According to reports, each passenger pays over $7,000 to make the trip on the yacht, which is safer than being smuggled in via fishing boats that cost less than half of that price.

When immigrants travel on open boats they risk drowning.  The yachts, which are normally used by tourists, travel for about 3-4 days when transporting immigrants from western Turkey to Malta or Sicily.

“This is an important new route from Turkey,” said Carlo Parini, head of Gicic, an Italian government task force that combats human trafficking in Sicily.  “It is a very well developed smuggling operation.”

The question becomes, how long until smugglers begin using the same tactics here in the US?  Or better yet, are they already doing it now?


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