People & Power

Borderless: Undercover with the People Smugglers

Inside the people-smuggling rings specialising in getting refugees into Europe.

Persecution, conflict and poverty drove more than a million people to leave their home countries and seek safety in Europe last year. As many as half of the refugees were Syrians fleeing civil war, and the majority of these took the perilous journey by sea from Turkey to Greece. Nearly 4,000 are believed to have drowned in the attempt. Meanwhile, tens of thousands crossed by land from Turkey into Bulgaria and Greece.

Whichever route they took, virtually all of the refugees paid people smugglers, self-proclaimed experts with the necessary criminal contacts and inside knowledge to help them evade border controls and get into Europe.

Over the course of two years, Al Jazeera filmmakers gained unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to a network of smugglers operating in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and beyond. This remarkable episode of People & Power reveals the inner workings of an uncompromising business.