05:23 GMT26 October 2020
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    An international people smuggling network has been smashed by police and the squalid conditions the criminals forced humans to live in have been revealed.

    Men, women and children from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran had been exploited by a gang which included a serving police officer in Crete, paying around US$4,732 to reach Europe only to end up living in caves in southern Crete.

    Pictures depicting the squalor in which the people were forced to exist shows their desperation to reach Europe by any means possible and the exploitation of their hopes by people smugglers.  

    In March 2017, 112 migrants were rescued off the coast of Greece prompting the investigation by the National Crime Agency. A year later and four leaders of an international smuggling network have been jailed in Greece, their sentences totalling more than 1,400 years.

    "Utter Disregard For Human Life"

    "The utter disregard for human life shown by those groups was clearly demonstrated in this case, with migrants forced to live in squalor and then attempt an incredibly dangerous journey by sea," Chris Hogben from the NCA said in a statement.

    "The very substantial sentences handed down by the Greek Court should send a very clear message to those tempted to profit from this sort of criminality," Chris Hogben said.

    READ MORE: Two Years On: EU-Turkey Deal 'Historic Failure' — MSF

    It's believed the people would have continued on to Italy and then the UK or northern Europe.

    READ MORE: African Migrants in Yemen 'A Commodity' for People Smugglers — IOM


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