Italy's 2009 agreement with Libya to send migrants picked up at sea to detention centres in the north African country has led to a “whopping” drop in the number of migrants apprehended irregularly crossing into the EU, reports the EUobserver. According to data released on the 3 August by Eurodac, the EU's biometric common asylum registration system, Italy saw a decrease from 32,052 irregular crossings by mainly African nationals in 2008 to just 7,300 cases in 2009. “At the same time, the number of asylum seekers in Europe rose by eight percent in 2009,” the Brussels news website notes. NGO’s like Human Rights Watch call the pact "a dirty deal to enable Italy to dump migrants and asylum seekers on Libya and evade its obligations."