Expatica news

Schiphol unmasked as hub for human trafficking

20 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — The arrest of almost 700 personnel in five years has underlined the major role Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam plays in human trafficking of illegal immigrants into the Netherlands.

The latest figures released by the Dutch military police responsible for security at Schiphol, shows 675 people employed at the airport have been arrested in recent years in relation to human smuggling, newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported on Thursday.

The majority of those arrested were employed as cleaners, sale assistants in duty-free shops or airline employees at Schiphol. Many had special passes that allowed them to use personnel-only doors to circumvent passport controls.

It is believed that thousands of illegal immigrants might have been helped to slip into the country through Schiphol, but the military police (Marechaussee in Dutch) have not provided an estimate to substantiate this.

Of the 60,000 people who work at the airport, half have a pass which allows relatively unhindered access throughout Schiphol.

Spokesman Rob Stenacker told the newspaper that the Marechaussee was becoming increasingly successful in identifying and catching people involved in human trafficking thanks to tip-offs and better surveillance.

Stenacker said he was not surprised that some employees at Schiphol have used their access and knowledge of the airport to assist the trafficking of illegal immigrants.

“You come across people who are corruptible in all walks of life, including the airport,” he said.

A police spokesperson told news agency ANP that international criminal gangs recruited staff at Schiphol and paid between EUR 3,000 and EUR 5,000 per illegal immigrant.

The majority of Schiphol staff arrested for human smuggling have been convicted, ANP reported. The charge carries a sentence of between four and eight years.

[Copyright Expatica News and Novum Nieuws 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, Schiphol Airport