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In the first five months of this year, a record number of migrants(1), mostly economic migrants from Africa, undertook the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, from Libya to Italy, with horrific humanitarian disasters as a consequence.
Agadez, in Niger, is the gateway to the Sahara, and hence also to North Africa and Europe. A report by the current affairs programme Terzake on 12 July 2016(2) made it clear that human traffickers operate openly there and with the local authorities turning a blind eye, in order to smuggle people into Libya in return for large payments and under false pretences.
What steps are being taken by the Commission and the EU Delegation in Niger to encourage the authorities of that country to prosecute human traffickers effectively and undermine their business model?
What action has EUCAP Sahel Niger, the European civil mission in Niger, already taken against human traffickers? What are the results?
Under the EU Action Plan on Smuggling (2015), does the Commission propose to expand the mandate and/or increase the budget or staff establishment of EUCAP Sahel Niger in order to be able to take more effective action against human smugglers?