"I had friends, close friends, people I'd traveled with from Eritrea, who drowned when I survived," he said.
Mr. Yohannes's journey and the Lampedusa shipwreck are emblematic of the perils and profits of a people-smuggling operation stretching across Africa and beyond to Europe. It is an expanding route in the global, $6 billion migrant-smuggling business that is becoming better organized by black marketers, and more lucrative, experts say. The low risks and high profits have left smugglers undeterred by crackdown attempts.
A coast guard vessel patrols the Mediterranean. Massimo Berruti/AgenceVU for the for The Wall Street Journal
On Friday, EU leaders are expected to sign off on a number of new proposals—including beefing up patrols of the Mediterranean and revisiting the idea of allowing refugees to apply for asylum from abroad—in a fresh bid to tackle the problem.