Police smash human trafficking ring
19 September 2007 , BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgian police have smashed an international ring which smuggled people from India to Britain, arresting Indians and Iraqi Kurds in overnight raids, the Brussels prosecutor's office said Wednesday.
19 September 2007
BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgian police have smashed an international ring which smuggled people from India to Britain, arresting Indians and Iraqi Kurds in overnight raids, the Brussels prosecutor's office said Wednesday.
Some 300 police officers made 19 arrests and picked up 50 clandestine migrants during the raids which targeted two criminal gangs, one Indian the other Kurdish, involved in the people-smuggling operation in which Belgium was a stop on the way.
A Belgian and a Bulgarian suspect were also arrested during the raids.
The illegal migrants paid out EUR 15,000-20,000 to the Indian gang which brought them to Belgium.
On arrival in Belgium the migrants were taken over by the Iraqi Kurdish gang which planned to put them in lorries, often with unsuspecting drivers, and send them to Britain, the prosecutor's office said.
The investigation into the human trafficking ring was carried out over several months ahead of the raids.
The Kurdish part of the operation, which ran its people-smuggling operation practically every night from a motorway service station, charged its human cargo a further EUR 2,500-3,000 each for the journey from Belgium to England, according to prosecutors.
It is believed that it sent dozens of paying customers towards England each night. Most are thought to have travelled on to the French port of Calais and then reached England via ferry or Eurotunnel.
If the migrants paid at least EUR 5,000 then the lorry drivers were alerted to their illicit cargo and the chances of them completing their journey undetected rose, the prosecutor said.
Raids in Brussels led to the arrest of eight Indian suspects and a Bulgarian woman.
A further 30 Indians being trafficked were also picked up in the Belgian capital.
Raids elsewhere, in the north Flanders and southern Wallonia regions, led to the arrest of seven Iraqi Kurds and a Belgian.
Another 16 illegal immigrants were intercepted as they attempted to climb into lorries.
"Nearly all the suspects questioned during the enquiry have been arrested," said the prosecutor's office.
[Copyright AFP 2007]
Subject: Belgian news