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Police bust alleged Tunisia-Italy migrant traffickers

A boat of migrants coming from Tunisia arrives on the italian island of Lampedusa on April 10, 2011. Around 26,000 undocumented migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, including around 21,000 who said they were from Tunisia, claiming they were fleeing a grim economic situation after the political revolution in January. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)
A boat of migrants coming from Tunisia arrives on the italian island of Lampedusa on April 10, 2011 [FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images]

Police in Italy said they had arrested 12 people allegedly involved in a ring that transported migrants from Tunisia to Sicily, with six suspects still unaccounted for, AFP reports.

According to the report, the suspects, 11 Tunisians and seven Italians, allegedly used small boats with powerful engines to transport about 10 to 30 migrants at a time from various towns on the Tunisian coast to Sicily off Italy.

The journey took under four hours, police said in a statement.

The migrants were "subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment", and the trip put their lives in "serious danger", the police said.

The crossing, paid for in cash in Tunisia before departure, cost between 3,000 Euros and 5,000 Euros per person, meaning the alleged traffickers were pocketing between 30,000 Euros and 70,000 Euros per trip, the police statement added.

READ: More Tunisian migrants head to Italy amid political and economic crisis

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