MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The European Union faces a repeat of the migrant crisis as the global coronavirus shutdown continues to weigh on African economies, the EU police agency said in a report on Friday.
“Prolonged economic instability and the sustained lack of opportunities in some African economies may trigger another wave of irregular migration towards the EU in the mid-term,” Europol said.
While the economic impact of the pandemic in Europe is expected to be significant, the damage to economies in developing countries is likely to be even more profound, it predicted.
Demand for cheap labour, particularly in the agricultural sector, is predicted to drive human trafficking, while prolonged closure of establishments offering legal sex work may increase sexual exploitation of trafficked women from Nigeria and eastern Europe.
Depending on the duration of air travel restrictions, people smugglers are predicted to shift their activities to land and sea routes.
“This will most likely have implications on the Western and the Eastern Mediterranean routes. Some migrants might also alternatively opt for the long and risky crossing from Senegal, Mauritania or Western Sahara to the Canary Islands,” the report read.
More small boats will be used to cross rivers and the English Channel. On land, preference will be given to freight vehicles and cargo trains.
Migrant smuggling and human trafficking are expected to become more clandestine, with people likely to be moved in smaller groups. Europol said Turkey is also expected to get more subtle about its attempts to push migrants over the Greek border