In an effort to combat the lucrative criminal networks, 14 Sri Lankan nationals were sentenced to jail by a court in northern France for running a people-smuggling ring throughout Europe.
The primary suspect was given a four-year jail sentence with one year suspended. He was accused of supervising the operation from a grocery shop in the town of Serifontaine, 80 kilometres north of Paris.
Investigators found that, with the use of payments to Eastern European officials, he estimated the costs and routes for transporting migrants from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh across the continent from Ukraine.
While the other suspects received sentences of less than five years in jail, one suspect who is based in Britain and resisting extradition attempts received a five-year sentence.
Since there have been more migrants travelling to Europe in recent years, many of them trying to cross the English Channel and get in Britain, smuggling groups have exploded with over 45000 illegal migrants reaching the shores of Britain in 2022.