Serbian police arrest eight suspected migrant-smugglers

Serbian police arrest eight suspected migrant-smugglers

Eight suspected people-smugglers have been arrested in Serbia as part of efforts to curb the illegal transfer of migrants towards Western Europe.

Police said on Monday that the group smuggled several dozen migrants from Serbia over the border to Hungary and then to Austria, earning between €1,100 (£920) and €1,200 (£1,005) per migrant.

The smuggling of migrants through the Balkans has been on the increase since nations shut their borders in March, closing down the previous refugee route towards Western Europe.

More than one million people entered Europe last year and nations have been closing their borders to curb the influx.

Meanwhile, Italy's interior minister said police and prosecutors have cracked a transnational network dedicated to migrant trafficking.

Palermo-based authorities have detained 38 people suspected of being in the ring - 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and one Italian.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the authorities had dealt "a harsh blow" to the criminal network, which used Rome for its financial transactions hub.

Palermo police said in a statement that an Eritrean man who was arrested in 2014 collaborated with authorities, providing for the first time "a complete reconstruction of criminal activities" of migrant trafficking involving operations both in North Africa and Italy.


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