News/French: FRENCH POLICE DISMANTLE DEAF-IMMIGRANT SMUGGLING RING

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Subject: News/French: FRENCH POLICE DISMANTLE DEAF-IMMIGRANT SMUGGLING RING
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 08:01:05 EDT


          FRENCH POLICE DISMANTLE DEAF-IMMIGRANT SMUGGLING RING

OTC 4/29/00 4:55 PM

Paris, Apr 29, 2000 (EFE via COMTEX) -- French police dismantled an
illegal immigration ring that in recent months exploited "several hundred"
deaf victims of Eastern European origin, arresting 28 people, sources close
to the investigation said Saturday.
    The far-reaching police sweep took place Thursday and Friday in and
around Paris, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Lille, Marseille and Toulouse.
    A special police bureau devoted to curbing illegal immigration and the
employment of aliens identified the victims as hearing- and speech-impaired
citizens of Russia, the Ukraine, Slovenia and Moldova.
    In those countries, deaf individuals working for the smugglers would
lure targets with promises of good jobs and wages in France, as well as
medical care for their conditions, promises that never materialized.
    Once the immigrants' visas expired, and they were denied residency
permits, ringleaders forced them to beg in cafeterias, restaurants and
train stations, taking advantage of the sympathy they evoked in passers-by.
    Among those arrested were the suspected masterminds of the operation,
some of whom are also deaf.
    Police are investigating possible links to similar operations discovered
in neighboring countries such as Germany and Spain. EFE
Agencia EFE S.A.
     http://www.efe.es -0-


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