German police arrest human traffickers

9th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

German police arrest a gang trafficking Iraqi refugees from Italy to Sweden, where the migrants are able to claim political asylum.

9th January 2008

Cologne (dpa) - At least 60 Iraqis are believed to have been successfully smuggled across Germany, while 63 were caught on Italian soil or in Germany, federal police in Cologne said Wednesday.

After a four-month inquiry, 200 police searched homes and offices early Wednesday in Gelsenkirchen, Essen and Muelheim, all cities in Germany's Ruhrgebiet metropolis of industry.

Six people were taken into custody on arrest warrants and five others were detained for investigation. A 12th man sought under a warrant was not found and is on the wanted list.

Police did not give any details about the ethnicity of the 12.

Refugee supporters say that Iraqis fleeing the turmoil in their country generally make landfall in the European Union in Italy, but ultimately aim to settle in Sweden, which has the most generous political-asylum arrangements in the EU and a thriving Iraqi exile community.

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