Sixfold increase of suspected people smuggling in 2015

3:56 min

The number of suspected cases of people smuggling has gone up by 600 percent this year compared to last, according to Swedish Television News. Last year, only 14 cases were reported, this year the number increased to 98. 

Leif Fransson, head of operations at the border police in southern Sweden, tells Radio Sweden that they get about one new case every other day and he expects the number to increase even further next year.

"I think there will be an increase next year. People will try to get to Sweden even with the upcoming ID checks in place," Fransson says.

Fransson says that the most common case of people smuggling is that someone with a permanent residence here drives south to pick up a fellow countryman in southern Europe and then drives back over the bridge.

"People are rarely hiding. They are simply sitting next to each other in cars or vans when they're stopped by customs here," Fransson says.

The drivers, suspected of people smuggling, are taken into custody, while the person attempting to be smuggled into the country gets taken to the Migration Agency where they can seek asylum. Since September this year, 17 Swedes have been convicted of people smuggling, according to Swedish Television News.