This contribution describes how migrant smuggling along the Central Mediterranean Route has transformed in the past half decade. Available data demonstrate that migratory flows along the Route have considerably shrunk in comparison with the levels seen in 2014– 2017. It remains questionable, though, whether the demand for smuggling services has also decreased. Available ethnographic evidence suggests that the prospect of northbound migration remains attractive for many sub-Saharan Africans. The rise of the entry barrier into the market of irregular crossings has stimulated the criminal organization of irregular migration. Trends recently detected in the region point to the progressive conversion of smuggling activities into thriving trafficking businesses, involving the exploitation of migrants and asylum seekers, and the trade of narcotic drugs.