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26 rescued off Libyan coast as migrant smuggling persists

26 rescued off Libyan coast as migrant smuggling persists


26 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya by an Italian merchant ship on Friday night, the Coast Guard said. Many are feared missing.

The Coast Guard said it tracked a satellite phone signal which it had received to a location about seven miles off the Libyan coast. An Italian merchant vessel in the area was then diverted and rescued the 26 from a rubber boat that had taken on water.

This comes in the wake of a serious migrant crisis in Europe.

According to EU’s law enforcement body Europol, human smugglers made a record profit last year of between $3 billion and $6 billion by exploiting the misery of refugees.

Human smuggling is now among top criminal enterprises in Europe. A recent Europol research also revealed that 90 per cent of asylum-seekers, refugees and economic migrants had paid a criminal gang to reach Europe.

With the closing of land routes in the Balkans and a recent deal under which Greece sends migrants back to Turkey, Italian officials expect more to try to make the longer and much more dangerous crossing from Libya.

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