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Luxury yachts used to smuggle migrants into EU

Author: Louise Callaghan, The Times, Published on: 14 May 2017

Ukrainian smugglers are running a multimillion-pound network that ferries migrants from Turkey to southern Europe on luxury yachts, an investigation by The Sunday Times has found. More than 2,000 migrants — mostly from the Middle East and south Asia — have paid more than £5,500 a head for the trip from Turkey to Italy since the beginning of last year, according to figures from the Italian authorities and Frontex, the European border agency. In the past month eight Ukrainian people-smugglers have been arrested in southern Sicily after their yachts were intercepted by the Italian coastguard. Another six were arrested in Malta and Crete. Each of the boats they captained had been carrying about 30 migrants from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.

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