(VOVworld) – Europol, the European Union's police organization, launched a new unit Monday dedicated to intercepting migrants being smuggled into Europe as they flee war and poverty.
A coast guard vessel arrives with refugees and migrants at the port of Mytilene after a rescue operation near the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 (AP Photo)
The new center set up at Europol's headquarters in The Hague is intended to help EU members states improve their exchange of information and operational coordination. Europol Director Rob Wainwright said he is discussing wider cooperation with authorities in Turkey, the departure point for the vast majority of refugees heading to Europe.
Wainwright called migrant smuggling the fastest-growing criminal sector in Europe and said his organization estimates that nine out of every 10 asylum-seekers arriving in Europe have their travel facilitated by a criminal smuggling network.