10:48 GMT25 September 2020
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    Migrants and crime increases are definitely linked, according to a Turkish security researcher who calls for Europe to accept refugees more openly to discourage smuggling.

    Migration and crime are very much linked, both in terms of human trafficking and crimes committed by the migrants, head of Turkey's International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) foreign policy think tank Elif Ozmenek Carmikli told Sputnik Turkiye.

    "The international community perceives these processes separately. Meanwhile, the Syrian crisis has shown us that the scope of criminal activities such as human trafficking and smuggling, or illegal transportation of refugees, are closely linked," she told Sputnik Turkiye.

    Carmikli cited reports of sexual abuse of Syrian women and children as an example, together with regular stories from Syrian migrants of women and children who go missing, and of organ harvesting operations in Arab neighborhoods of Turkey. Interpol recently revealed that some 10,000 underage migrants are reported to have gone missing.

    "All this points to the alarming proportions of criminal activities related to the problem of refugees," Carmikli added.

    Big Money Problems

    According to Carmikli, another issue of the refugee crisis is unattended children as a factor in crime. Over the weekend, Swedish right-wingers beat up refugee street children at Stockholm's train station, whom they accused of pickpocketing and the murder of a social worker.

    "Only 14 percent of children of refugees living outside the camps go to school. The remainder spend all their time on the street. This alone is a factor driving the increase in crime," Carmikli told Sputnik Turkiye.

    Smuggling refugees from Turkey to Europe has also become a lucrative source of income for criminal organizations.

    "Meanwhile, the scale of the problem is constantly increasing, the main victims of criminal acts are women and children. It is known that a smuggler of illegal immigrants, the carrier receives a monthly income of 50 to 100 thousand euros. According to our information, the total monthly income in this area can be up to $5 million," Carmikli told Sputnik Turkiye.

    Offering solutions to the crisis, Carmikli said that punishments must be increased for smugglers and pimps, although this is difficult to do in the short term.

    "It is essential to ensure that the refugees were opened legal ways to enter Europe. Right now there isn't one, and people are forced to risk their lives and trust smugglers, to have at least a ghostly hope of salvation," Carmikli added.


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    crime, smuggling, refugees, International Strategic Research Organisation, Turkey
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