The latest incident in the Mediterranean Sea that resulted in the death of another group of refugees has sounded the alarm for the European Union.
Based on the measures Brussels has now decided to take, it finally appears that European politicians are beginning to understand the issue in its true dimension.
The fact is that the mass influx of refugees and immigrants bound for the EU member states is a complicated problem. This is why it is difficult to propose and agree on adequate measures to control it, if not stop it.
Practically speaking, Europe is an unprotected territory with many unprotected points of entry. From the North to the South and South West, refugees and immigrants are being smuggled into the EU – just like any illegal merchandise.
According to a very interesting report published by the Associated Press, there are even immigrants from Ghana who succeeded to enter Hungary. This means there are countless routes taking groups of people even the farthest distances.
Also, the regional conflicts taking place near Europe are making it easier for smugglers to traffic refugees and immigrants because there are now more routes to chose from.
The collapse of Iraq and Syria, especially with the creation of Islamic State, opened up a new route bringing to the Mediterranean people who are not only from the Middle Easter but from South Asia.
The same is true with the crisis in Libya. The country could be under a bloody civil war, but the route used by traffickers remains open so they can smuggle in people from all over Africa.
What is more, the new routes that have opened up operate in parallel to the ‘traditional’ ones that never closed.
The fact is people smuggling is a very lucrative business for organised criminal groups who form associations with warlords and the jihadist groups.
Organised crime operations are active in different sectors: narcotics, weapons, cigarettes and human trafficking.
It is very important to understand this and it is very important for European citizens to realise that there are businesses behind the human tragedy unfolding.
Now the EU has decided to act. They say they will also use military force to target the boats being used by smugglers.
But this raises some other questions?
For instance, how will they use military force? In the case of Libya, this could be feasible considering the country has collapsed and it should be easy to destroy the boats in the Libyan ports.
Will it be the same at other ports in the Mediterranean Sea since smugglers operate from everywhere?
Also, as soon as one route is stopped or controlled, a new route will be opened. Is the EU ready to prevent new human tragedies?
Is the EU ready to explain to its citizens that refugees and immigrants are double victims? People must be helped to understand that refugees and immigrants are the victims of the circumstances in their homeland and also the victims of organised crime.
It is also important for all of us to understand that the campaign, even though it is aimed at solving the problem, can easily be hit by the wave of xenophobia and racism.