People smuggling in Africa is a major criminal operation that collects billions of euros every year from desperate people. Most depart from Libya and attempt to cross the Central Mediterranean, which is the currently the main entry point for migrants into the EU.

The number of migrants who arrive in Europe via this route is steadily increasing. Most migrants try to reach Europe from Libya, which is the main departure country towards Europe with a well-established presence of smuggling networks.

The main migratory routes for people crossing the Central Mediterranean are the route from West Africa and another from the Horn of Africa.

Route from West Africa

On the routes from West Africa, the main migrant smuggling hub is the city of Agadez in Niger. Due to its location, Niger is the key transit country used by the migrants originating from West and Central Africa. Most migrants use regular bus lines to reach Agadez in Niger where they pay smugglers to first take them across the Sahara, and then from Libya to Italy.

Route from the Horn of Africa

Eritreans represent the main nationality on this route, followed by Sudanese and Somali migrants. Eritrean migrants are approached in their home country by Eritrean smugglers and taken to Sudan. Khartoum in Sudan is the main smuggling hub on this route.

The smuggling network in Sudan mostly consists of locals who take migrants to the border with Libya in private pickups. From here, migrants are transported by members from Tuareg tribes to coastal cities in Libya, from where they are taken to departure areas on the coast.

Source: Read more on the Frontex official page