News: Gangs smuggle 4,000 migrants a month to UK

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Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Wed, 30 Dec 1998 10:09:19 -0500


Another story about trafficking that is mis-labeled "smuggling."

Hope everybody has a wonderful New Year.....

Gangs smuggle 4,000 migrants a month to UK
Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent
The Independent (UK), December 28, 1998

ORGANISED gangs are smuggling up to 4,000 illegal immigrants and
asylum-seekers into Britain every month, according to the National Criminal
Intelligence Service (NCIS).

Officers are alarmed at how the gangs are moving into the illegal trade and
exploiting the hopes of many refugees of finding a better life in the UK.

Some 20 gangs charge the migrants from 250 to 15,000. The more expensive
"packages" include the services of a solicitor to assist in claiming
benefits, "safe" houses, and work in restaurants, farms and backstreet
"sweat shops".

The NCIS's recently formed Organised Immigration Crime Section has also
detected a growing market in forged and counterfeit documents. An NCIS
spokesman said: "There is a UK end of the operation. You tend to get
packages - people will pay for transportation and advice on benefits and
approaching the Home Office.

"There is a system of 'safe' houses for them to stay until they are
distributed to other parts of the country where they will be found work."

Details of the rackets given by NCIS officers to The Independent provide
the most comprehensive picture yet of clandestine immigration. The NCIS
estimates that between 2,000 and 4,000 people are smuggled into Britain
every month. The top four gangs are bringing in up to 250 people each
month, they say. Lorry drivers are paid about 500 to smuggle in a load of
>20 people, according to police sources.

Home Office figures show that 8,000 people were caught entering Britain
illegally in the past year - less than a third of the lowest NCIS estimate.
A further 7,000 were caught coming into Britain hidden in lorries.

The scale of organised smuggling has become so severe that MI5 and MI6 have
been assisting authorities.

The three main nationalities of organised smugglers are the Turks, the
Chinese and Asians from the sub-continent - mainly Indians, but some
Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. The biggest single group being smuggled are
Kosovo Albanians.

Melanie Orhant

Co-Director
Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590
Email: morhant@igc.org
www.globalsurvival.net


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