[Stop-traffic] News/Australia: Illegal immigrants face crime, drugs, prostitution,...

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Australia: Illegal immigrants face crime, drugs, prostitution,...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Jan 29 2001 - 20:28:30 EST


          Illegal immigrants face crime, drugs, prostitution,...

APws 15/Jan/01 7:14 AM

The Associated Press.

    SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The government repeated warnings on Monday
that illegal immigrants in Australia were in danger of slipping into a life
of crime, despite recently scrapping a campaign that claimed they risked
being forced into prostitution, poverty and drug addiction.
    Speaking to an international conference on people smuggling in Canberra,
Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone said the involvement of organized crime in
illegal immigration increased the risk that refugees would become trapped
in a life of criminal activity.
    "The arrivals, by the nature of who they have dealt with to get here,
also risk other crimes being committed, such as blackmail, prostitution,
narcotic trafficking, which frequently go hand in hand with illegal
immigration," Vanstone said.
    After an outcry from human rights groups and political opponents,
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock was forced last week to abandon a
campaign aimed at scaring off potential illegal immigrants.
    On a visit to the Mideast, Ruddock had planned to distribute media
information kits which said that in addition to drugs, prostitution and
poverty, illegal migrants faced family breakdowns and racial violence.
    The government says more than 4,000 illegal immigrants have arrived in
the country in the past year, mainly by sea via Indonesia.
    Most originate in the Mideast and southern China, making the final leg
of the voyage from Indonesia on decrepit ships that sometimes sink without
trace.
    Vanstone told the conference that the rise in people-smuggling was
deeply unsettling to most Australians, increasing the risks of health
quarantine violations, as well as criminal activity.
    "These issues are important to Australia and to Australians," she said.
"They are not raised to smear or stereotype illegal immigrants."
    The five-day conference, attended by more than 60 representatives from
23 countries, is aimed at curbing the international spread of people
smuggling by increasing cooperation between countries.
    (poc/mcc/twx)
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