Milan police break human trafficking ring

100 migrants trafficked per month to northern Europe.

Milan police have arrested 10 members of a gang of 13 people traffickers, accused of earning €70,000 profit every month by transporting Syrian immigrants to the north of Europe, making 20 trips per month. Another three members managed to evade capture and are currently on the run.

Led by a 36-year-old Egyptian, the gang numbered five more Egyptians, three Albanians, two Romanians, a Syrian and a Brazilian woman, all of them with regular residence permits in Italy.

The organisation was allegedly in phone contact with people smugglers in Sicily, where migrants come ashore after surviving a dangerous voyage from North Africa in barely seaworthy craft, and often have to be saved from shipwreck. The “clients” made contact with the gang in Milan – usually around the central railway station – Monza, Brescia and Venice.

Migrants heading prevalently for Germany, Denmark or the Netherlands allegedly arrived in Milan with the telephone number of a gang member in their pockets, provided by the accomplices in Sicily. They then bargained for a lift to the north costing between €500 and €1,000, according to their financial possibilities and their destination.

On only two occasions did the trip fail, said prosecutors, because the drivers pocketed the “fare” and abandoned the migrants to their fate, once in Bergamo and once in Monza.

The gang was given away after they tried to recruit another Egyptian to act as driver, but he instead reported the approach to the police, who launched Operation Transitus to find and arrest the gang members.