Thieves in law control irregular migration channels in Europe
Sailors, ship owners and mafia bosses have found a goldmine in the shadow market.
Ukrainians are actively engaged in the transportation of illegal migrants from Asia and Africa to Europe. They make pretty good money in the shadow labor market. European courts have been sentencing sailors to long imprisonment terms, but those who arrange the crossings go unpunished.
The Ukrainian news outlet Strana.ua has found out that the Ukrainian seamen have been routinely recruited to transfer illegal immigrants to Europe. They are offered illegal jobs with promises of official employment on Turkish fishing vessels. When they arrive, however, the seamen cannot give up the big money even though they already know the job is illegal. One of the sailors said that he and his team made six trips with illegal immigrants in three months, and he got $300 for each.
The owner of a crewing company in Odessa, Vladimir I., says that the migration is a goldmine for all: sailors, ship owners, and recruiters.
"I heard that the Turks control the traffic, but recently, our thieves have joined the business. Those are the thieves' clans residing in Turkey, and they control almost half of the traffic," the source said.
They gave no specific names or nicknames of the orchestrators of the illegal migration channels.
Vladimir says that the business is worth millions of dollars: "Our thieves arrange a meeting of the “tourists” in Greece and Italy, then they transfer them to Europe by bus. That’s why there were some turf wars with shootings between our thieves and the Turks in Istanbul a couple of months ago; they fought for the flows. "
It's no secret that Turkey became a refuge for several dozen Georgian and Azerbaijani thieves in law a few years ago. However, there is no up-to-date information on the number of thieves in Turkey. Ukraine has between 80 and 100 thieves in law today, according to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, who gave the figures this summer. Russia had a thief census five years ago, in 2013, when the MIA named about 500 criminal lords in Russia, Post Soviet countries and the rest of the world. 428 thieves in law were free then, with 73 kept in Russian pre-trial detention centers and prisons.