THE Moroccan Mafia has supposedly netted a whopping €160 million in the trade of illegal immigrants in the past three years, according to recent studies.
The European Border Agency (Frontex), released its annual risk analysis report highlighting the huge increase since 2017 in the number of immigrants reaching Spanish shores.
In 2017, it was estimated that human traffickers earned around €35 million, which then sky rocketed to €105 million in 2018 before dropping significantly to €19 million in 2019.
The majority of immigrants landing on Spanish soil originate from Morocco and Algeria, with facilitator networks pocketing up to €3,000 per person.
According to internal sources, the higher prices depend on the difficulty of the crossing in terms of coastal patrols and severity of the conditions.
The increase in revenue in 2018 was sparked by the shifting of origin of refugees from Libya to Morocco due to the Italian government’s decision to close all ports to immigrant vessels.
The EU’s scheme to also train the Libyan military as coastguards also paid off and made the crossing to Spain via Italy too risky.
This pushed the primary route to Spain eastward to Morocco, leading to Moroccan networks spotting a huge business opportunity.
Spain’s government and the EU have put pressure on Moroccan traffickers in recent years, increasing border controls and agreeing to a €140 million donation in exchange for tighter regulations.
In 2019, Spain gave Morocco a €30 million investment from the Budget Contingency Fund, as well as €26 million worth of technical equipment including 750 vehicles, 15 drones, dozens of scanners and radars used in the fight against illegal immigration.