Home Travel & Adventure Italy’s Crackdown: 9 Pakistanis Arrested for Alleged Migrant Smuggling Along Balkan Route

Italy’s Crackdown: 9 Pakistanis Arrested for Alleged Migrant Smuggling Along Balkan Route


The Italian authorities detained nine Pakistani nationals last week on suspicion of smuggling migrants along the Balkan road.

The arrests came after Tuscany’s Siena Flying Squad exposed an organisation allegedly dedicated to facilitating illegal migration along the Balkan route, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

According to the Italian News Agency, Ansa, all individuals detained face charges related to organising the illegal entry of multiple fellow nationals, in addition to allegations of robbery, injuries, and attempted extortion.

The investigations started last year on March 19, following a case where two Pakistani citizens were assaulted by multiple individuals believed to be part of the criminal organisation.

On that day and the following one, reportedly, one of the victims was forcefully held in an apartment located in the centre of Siena. Officials later uncovered that this was an attempted kidnapping aimed to extort more money for his trip to Italy.

Immigrant Held Against Will in Apartment Over Alleged 2000€ Debt

The individuals presumably assisted irregular migrants along part of the Balkan route in Italy in exchange for a large amount of money.

The suspects allegedly received the money from a currency exchange shop manager in Athens on behalf of individuals related to a criminal network established in Siena but operating with logistical hubs in Greece and Bosnia.

As Ansa further reported, after immigrants arrived in Italy, they were subjected to attacks, threats, and extortion to obtain more money. Meanwhile, those who tried to escape would be seriously injured.

Reportedly, one of the immigrants was found in an apartment in Siena, captured by three compatriots for an alleged debt of 2000€.

In addition, the police identified several other undocumented Pakistani nationals in the province of Siena.

As further reported, the authorities provided shelter to these irregular Pakistanis, assisted them with immigration office procedures at the police headquarters, and arranged temporary accommodations while awaiting the formalisation of their international protection requests.

Immigrant Arrivals Have Decreased by 65% Since the Beginning of 2024

Since the start of 2024, Italy has experienced a significant decrease of 65 per cent in immigrant arrivals compared to the same period in 2022.

Whereas in 2023, about 156,000 immigrants arrived in Italy, according to the Italian Ministry of the Interior. This figure represented an increase compared to 2022 when 103,846 arrivals were reported.

The highest number of irregular arrivals throughout 2023 was recorded in August, with the figure reaching 25,673.

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