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Migrant trafficking ring/Vietnam/UK

Published on June 24, 2010
Dismantling of an important network of illegal immigration to the United Kingdom – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Mutually-Supportive Development

Paris, June 22, 2010

Eric Besson, Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Mutually-Supportive Development, congratulates the French border police central directorate (DCPAF – direction centrale de la Police aux frontières) teams who, on Tuesday, 22 June 2010, broke an important illegal immigrant trafficking ring smuggling Vietnamese migrants to the United Kingdom, whose ringleaders were based in Hungary, Germany and France.

Given the significant increase in the smuggling of Vietnamese migrants via the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments, with a 200% rise in the number of would-be Vietnamese immigrants apprehended en route to Britain between 2008 and 2009, Eric Besson had asked the border police services to put special measures in place to dismantle these networks.

For the past 18 months, the British, German, Hungarian and French police have been pooling their efforts, intelligence and objectives in the fight against illegal trafficking rings for Vietnamese migrants through a special task force (VOIC – Vietnamese Organized Immigration Crime) within Europol. This is what led to the identification of a particularly highly structured network.

At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 June 2010, searches were launched simultaneously in premises in France, Germany and Hungary. Around 60 people were apprehended.

The French Central Office for the Repression of Illegal Immigration and Employment of Foreigners without Residence Permits (OCRIEST – Office central pour la Répression de l’Immigration irrégulière et de l’Emploi d’Etrangers sans titre) and DCPAF mobile squads apprehended 14 people involved in this network in the Paris region and North West France, as well as around 20 would-be immigrants at a transit point. The German police apprehended 5 people and the Hungarian police 19. EUROPOL coordinated the operations. A debriefing and European press conference are scheduled for Friday, 25 June 2010 in Budapest.

The very structured network included migrant traffickers and many international contacts, each carrying out his/her mission of runner, trafficker, accommodation provider or financier. The illegals arrived in France via Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic or Germany and were taken to the United Kingdom by road, concealed in special hiding places in lorries or people carriers and then by ferry or specially chartered boat.
VOIC’s next meeting has been fixed for 2 and 3 September 2010 in Slovakia.

Eric Besson has also announced the creation, in the EUROPOL framework, of a taskforce dedicated to combating illegal trafficking rings smuggling Chinese migrants (COIC).

In the first five months of the year, the DCPAF has dismantled 92 networks, i.e. 58% more than the previous year. Eric Besson has set the target of dismantling 200 networks before the end of 2010.

“The illegal immigration rings, which convoy and exploit men, women, children, scorning all human dignity and all aspects of the rule of law, now constitute, according to the United Nations, the second-largest criminal activity in the world, behind drug trafficking. They must be combated with relentless determination. International and European cooperation is one of the essential instruments in this battle. Free movement Europe must not become migrant traffickers’ Europe. France is going to continue stepping up the fight against illegal immigration at European Union level, in the framework of the road map towards a European border police force adopted on 25 February 2010 by all the European ministers”, concluded Eric Besson./.

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