CAIRO – Egypt's chief prosecutor has referred 40 people to trial on charges of forming a criminal network for human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Prosecutor Nabil Sadek said Wednesday in a statement the suspects face an array of additional charges including bribery, forging official documents, facilitating illegal immigration and sex trafficking.
No date has been set for trial. The suspects could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Egypt passed legislation in 2016 to crack down on human trafficking in an effort to combat the growing illegal industry in the most populous Arab country.
Thousands of migrants and refugees have attempted in recent years to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, with an increasing number departing via smugglers' boats from Egypt's northern coast.