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Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK

World: Europe

Conference on people smuggling opens

An international conference has opened in the Italian city of Naples to consider ways to combat the illegal smuggling of people across international borders -- particularly through Kosovo and Albania.

The BBC Rome correspondent says that Albanian and Italian smugglers bring dozens of refugees from the former Yugoslavia across the narrow Adriatic Sea to Italy every night, charging them up to one-thousand dollars each.

Apart from Kosovans and Albanians, Kurds, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Chinese are among those entering Italy illegally.

The United Nations says people smuggling has become a major source of revenue for international organised crime, with annual profits estimated at more than six-billion dollars.

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