Nine arrested for human trafficking in Belgium
Belgian police arrested nine people of Iraqi origin Tuesday in raids on an international people smuggling network, mainly around the port city of Antwerp, policing agency Europol said.
THE HAGUE - "Those arrested belong to a network of criminals, mainly from Iraq, suspected of smuggling illegal immigrants from Belgium to the United Kingdom," it said in a statement in The Hague.
"House searches also revealed four illegal immigrants."
Europol said the network smuggled hundreds of immigrants, charging them 1,500 euros (2,100 dollars) to be concealed in the back of trucks to be driven to Britain.
"The immigrants originated from countries such as Afghanistan, China, Iraq and Vietnam," said the statement.
They were brought to Europe by an Indian smuggling network, taken to so-called truck parks along the E40 route, including Dunkirk and Calais in France and Ghent in Belgium, from where they were loaded into lorries at night.
"A smuggling route was identified from Turkey to Greece and onwards via Italy, through Central Europe to Belgium, before going to the UK as the final destination," said the Europol statement.
The arrests were made after a months-long investigation by Belgian police aided by Europol intelligence experts.AFP/Expatica