Authorities made arrests in Italy and Hungary over the weekend in relation to two separate cases of migrant murders.
The suspects are alleged members of human trafficking rings who are profiting from the mass migration to Europe by smuggling migrants over land and sea.
Deaths at sea
In Italy, authorities arrested 10 people on Friday on suspicion of homicide in relation to the discovery of 52 bodies in the Mediterranean Sea.
The suspects could also be charged with kidnapping and aiding illegal migration.
“We didn’t want to go down there but they beat us with sticks to force us,” a 25 year-old Sudanese migrant told United Nations employees. “We had no air so we were trying to get back up through the hatch and breathe through the cracks in the ceiling.”
So far 300, 000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea, of those, 2, 373 have died.
Deaths on the road
In Hungary, an owner and two drivers of a truck found in Austria were arrested in relation to the deaths of 71 migrants found inside.
Sixty of the victims were men, eight were women and three were children aged 2, 3 and 8.
“We are talking about human trafficking, homicide, even murder,” said Johann Fuchs, state prosecutor of Eisenstadt.
The victims in the truck died of suffocation after the truck was abandoned by the drivers.
The victims were likely Syrians who were fleeing the war in their home country.
They likely had to pay significant sums of money to the Bulgarians the authorities have arrested, who are suspected of being members of a smuggling ring.
[CNN] [The Globe and Mail]
“This tragedy underscores the ruthlessness of people smugglers who have expanded their business from the Mediterranean Sea to the highways of Europe,” said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “It shows they have no regard for human life and are only after profit.”