A police operation in Tuscany that led to the arrest of six people accused of being members of a transnational criminal organization that dealt in migrant trafficking | Photo: ANSA/POLIZIA DI STATO
A police operation in Tuscany that led to the arrest of six people accused of being members of a transnational criminal organization that dealt in migrant trafficking | Photo: ANSA/POLIZIA DI STATO

A study carried out in Italy has found that only 3.4% of human trafficking cases are connected to other transnational crimes. The analysis presented on December 11 highlighted that this result makes it hard to justify stricter controls on migration flows based on the assumption that migrant trafficking leads to an increase in drug and arms trafficking.

Human trafficking is connected to other transnational crimes like drug trafficking, illicit arms trade or cigarette smuggling only in 3.4% of cases. That's according to a report presented on December 11 by Transcrime, an inter-university research center on transnational crime of Milan's Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Alma Mater Studiorum of the University of Bologna and the University of Perugia.

Criminal organizations trafficking migrants rarely deal in other crimes, the study said. This, researchers said, makes it difficult to justify harsher controls on migration flows under the assumption that migrant trafficking leads to a rise in drug trafficking, illicit arms sales and smuggling.

Connection to other crimes in 'sporadic cases'

The research was illustrated in Italy on December 11 during a webinar attended, among others, by researchers from the American University in Cairo, the International Institute of Syracuse and Florida International University.

The study, explained by Alberto Aziani, a senior researcher in sociology of deviance at the faculty of political and social sciences of the Catholic University and Transcrime, focused on the connection between migrant trafficking and aiding and abetting illegal immigration and other illegal trades.

The research lasted two years and was based on police investigations.

According to the study, only in rare cases human trafficking organizations also deal in drugs, arms and tobacco smuggling. Such cases are "sporadic and not systematic, with few stable realities," said Aziani.

Overall, he noted, human smuggling is independent from other transnational crimes.

Investigations instead revealed that proceeds from human trafficking are laundered through other illicit transnational activities.

 

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