[Stop-traffic] News/Canada: Human smuggling targeted

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Canada: Human smuggling targeted
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Aug 16 2000 - 10:17:41 EDT

Human smuggling targeted
By Allan Thompson
Toronto Star, July 21, 2000

OTTAWA - Canada wants to dramatically step up information-sharing with
European countries in order to combat human smuggling, Immigration Minister
Elinor Caplan said yesterday.

That would mean exchanging such information as police files on known
traffickers, intelligence on the movement of migrants and the travel routes
being used, Caplan said in a telephone interview from Paris after speaking
to a conference on illegal migration, organized by the European Union.

``Where there's a will to find ways to share information, it can happen,''
Caplan said. ``We need to share information internationalally to help us
figure out who's who and make sure that we're dealing harshly with the

``There would be an opportunity for Canada to link in with a European
network (of immigration control officers) and enhance our capability.''

`We need to share information internationalally to help us figure out who's
who and make sure that we're dealing harshly with the criminals.' -
Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan

Caplan joined other immigration and interior ministers calling for tough
new measures against human trafficking after 58 Chinese migrants suffocated
in a truck at the British port of Dover last month.

Caplan said authorities must best the traffickers, who are adept at global
communications and information sharing.

``These are internationalal networks with sophisticated communications,''
Caplan said.

``If we don't do that on an internationalal scale we're not going to be

Caplan also pushed the other ministers to support efforts to pass a United
Nations convention on organized crime, which includes protocols on migrant
smuggling and trafficking.

Canada wants those U.N. protocols to contain strong provisions for the
deportation of illegal migrants - and an obligation for their home
countries to take them back.

One of the problems Canada has faced, even after it detects illegal
immigration, is to get countries such as China to agree to take back migrants.

Caplan referred to ``the obligation to deal with return of nationals. We
consider it essential to do that.''

She also coaxed her European counterparts to allow more regular
immigration, telling them they might have fewer problems from illegal
migrants if they were more open about taking in regular immigrants.

``Canada's experience reinforces the fundamental importance of adopting a
balanced approach as we confront new and emerging trends in migration,''
Caplan told the conference. ``In this context, the `zero immigration'
policies of the past are simply not viable.''

Underlining the internationalal scale of the illegal migration problem,
Italy announced earlier in the day it had smashed a ring that smuggled
Chinese people into the European Union via the Balkans.

French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement told the seminar that
Russian, Turkish and Albanian mafia controlled global human trafficking
networks and said governments must tackle the crisis together.

``I am convinced that the question of migration will be one of the major
issues of the 21st century for Europe,'' he said, adding that Europe will
absorb some 50 million immigrants in the next 50 years.

He demanded greater co-operation between police forces and said he planned
to triple existing fines of $1,405 imposed on transportation companies for
every illegal immigrant found travelling in their trucks, planes and boats.

Australian Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock said stronger measures are
needed. Australia, he said, has prison terms of up to 20 years for human

``We must ask ourselves whether we should stand by and let the people
smugglers decide who should come and live in our countries,'' he said.

The gruesome discovery of 58 Chinese migrants in Dover jolted France into
shunting the problem up the agenda of its six-month EU presidency, which
ends in December, amid signs of an explosion in the number of people
seeking a better life in the West.
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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