Displaying items by tag: people smuggling
Northern Ireland: people-smuggling arrests
On 3 August thirty police officers and immigration officials raided two properties and detained a 40-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both originally from Somalia, on suspicion of offences linked to people-smuggling. The pair have lived in Northern Ireland for ten years; authorities believe they are part of an operation being run by an organised crime gang transporting people into the UK. Officers also searched the addresses for cash. Immigration officials say that individuals can pay gangs between £2,500 and £15,000 to be brought into the UK, often exploiting the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland. Priti Patel said the operation showed expertly-trained officers working tirelessly to keep our country safe by disrupting suspected criminal activity. An immigration enforcement officer said this was just one of the ways they worked with the police to act against people-smuggling.
France / England: people-smuggling industry
Days after 27 people drowned in the English Channel, the BBC discovered that smuggling gangs are still telling migrants it is safe to cross. One smuggler said that the drownings were a lie and that there was no danger in making the journey. The brutal journeys migrants make across the Channel are full of stories of crisis. Pray for the detection and removal of the guerrilla-style smuggling operations among the French dunes. Pray for authorities to have more compassion for the streams of soaking passengers washing ashore in Kent. Pray for this international criminal industry to be thwarted by even more sophisticated detection. Pray for an end to the supply of specially-made boats that refugees are packed into. New arrivals in French camps are given tips on how to find a people-smuggler. One young man from Afghanistan was told to look for ‘the Kurdish man’ hanging around during food distribution.
27 migrants drowned in Channel
Pregnant women and three children were among 27 Kurds from Iraq and Iran who drowned trying to cross the Channel. Two male survivors are being treated for exhaustion and hypothermia in a Calais hospital. A criminal investigation has been opened; five men are suspected of direct involvement in the attempted crossing. The bodies were brought by boat and helicopter to Calais, where volunteers with local migrant aid associations lit candles and held aloft placards reading ‘How many more?’ Despite the terrible loss of life, crossings have continued. The next morning forty migrants were brought to Dover by a lifeboat. It is windy on the water and extremely cold, but the determination to get to the UK remains as strong as ever. Boris Johnson said that there are ‘difficulties’ persuading France ‘to do things in a way that the situation deserves’; it was clear French attempts to stop the migrant boats leaving ‘haven't been enough’.
39 dead in lorry tragedy
On 23 October 39 migrants, including one teenager, were found frozen to death in a refrigerated container (temperature -25C) on an Essex industrial estate. The truck carrying the container entered the UK from Dublin four days earlier. The driver, from Northern Ireland, was arrested on suspicion of murder, even though he may have been the one who alerted the authorities. Local MP Jackie Doyle-Price said, ‘Putting 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil. The best way to honour their memory is to bring the perpetrators to justice.’ The cab was registered in Bulgaria under a company owned by an Irish woman, with possible links to a smuggling route and to Irish Republican gangs. Pray for the victims to be quickly identified and families sensitively alerted, and for those responsible to be brought to justice. See also the next article.
Bishop of Chelmsford on lorry tragedy
Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell has said, ‘We live in a world where there is the most terrible human trafficking. We dread to think what situations those people were in when they climbed into that lorry. There is great desperation - people moving around the world to escape horrors elsewhere. What I've been trying to focus on is that there is a story for each of those 39 people; there is a family, and we don't know what those stories are. We have helped make the world where these things happen, and we must respond by doing all that we can to clamp down on the criminal activity that feeds on the desperation of others.’
Mexico: children sold at US border
Women in Tijuana shelters fear their children will be kidnapped after seeing groups of men approaching mothers and offering to purchase their children to expedite their asylum process. When children are accompanied by adults crossing the border, current US law stipulates that they are held in custody temporarily, then released with parents or guardians with whom they arrived while they wait for their asylum cases to be processed. Authorities are investigating claims of women being asked to sell their children for $350 (£280) each. Border authorities are aware that migrants crossing the border are using children that are not related to in order to more easily enter the U.S. Tijuana, known for its nightlife and shopping, is in Baja California State, and has no way of keeping track of migrant children, according to the pastor of Agape Mission shelter in south Tijuana.
Iranian refugees entering UK
Many Iranian families settled in London after fleeing the former Shah and later fleeing his overthrower, Ayatollah Khomeini. 2001 brought fresh asylum movements of Farsi-speaking refugees, from Western Europe and Eurasia. Now there is a new wave of asylum seekers. In November, 78 of the 100+ refugees rescued in the English Channel were Iranian families. They were rescued by UK and French border force vessels from unsafe dinghies, or when entering the port of Dover on stolen French fishing boats. Some have been apprehended clambering up Folkestone’s rocks. The Home Office said, ‘We have stepped up deployments of our coastal patrol vessels along the south-east coast. However, this is not an issue that can be resolved by maritime resources alone.’ Iranian migrants in northern France said that they are determined to take whatever risks necessary to enter Britain. See