Migrant smuggling entails the abetting or assisting of illegal entry or stay of a person in a foreign country for payment. In Switzerland it takes place as follows:
- Migrant smugglers assist people to cross the national borders of Switzerland. Smugglers may or may not accompany the migrant to Switzerland. Illegal entry can take place either via an unmanned border crossing, or via the so-called green border or hidden in a vehicle via a manned checkpoint.
- Smugglers provide the migrants with illegal travel documents; that is to say, documents that have either been forged or falsified, or genuine documents that have been obtained in the country of origin by means of corruption or deception and therefore do not lawfully belong to the person registered as holder.
- Entry into the target country may take place legally either as a tourist or with a short-term permit. The smuggler organises the stay of the migrant in the country once the permit has expired.
- Migrant smuggling is part of illegal migration. Smugglers often demand high sums of money for smuggling migrants into another country. Migrants and their families often use all their savings to pay the smuggler, or even get into debt. The journey can be hazardous.
In its simplest form, migrant smuggling is a ruthless act of crime, often leading to untold human suffering and countless victims. Criminal organisations unashamedly exploit the hope of migrants of a better future abroad and the desperation of refugees for pure financial gain.
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