UK: People Smuggling a Growing Criminal Business

Specially-trained experts in illegal immigration have been deployed to police stations in to help tackle the county’s problem with people-smuggling

According to a local newspaper, illegal immigrants were being smuggled into Northamptonshire in the back of lorries on average once a fortnight. A total of 27 lorry smuggling cases were recorded by Northamptonshire Police during 2007 – but those are just the ones who were caught.

The illegal immigrants are most often people from Iraq and Africa. Bizarrely, once detected, the illegal immigrants are released and merely “told” to make their own way to a detention centre in Croydon, 114 miles away. Obviously, none do.

In Edinburgh, police chiefs have vowed to step up the fight against sex traffickers after six Asian women were found in Edinburgh being forced to work as prostitutes by two Asian men working as their pimps.

Organised criminal gangs operate the networks of trafficked women. The Asian women were working in flats in Leith.Inspector Paul Bullen, who is leading the blitz in the Lothian and Borders area, said: “We have been looking at the licensed saunas, but most of our attention has been focused on off-street prostitution from private flats.

“We were surprised in a way to find six women in Edinburgh over a few months, but in other ways we weren’t surprised. If you look at the example of other major UK cities, then there is no reason to suppose it wouldn’t be happening here.”

In September last year, three Asian women were rescued after raids on two flats by police and immigration officers. And in May, there was another raid on a brothel being run from a waterfront flat, when two illegal immigrants were found working as prostitutes.

The raid followed months of covert surveillance, but while the two women, one Chinese and the other Thai, were detained, two middle-aged Asian men, believed to be the ringleaders behind the scheme, were not caught.

Insp Bullen said that smuggled women usually paid money to gangsters to be brought into the country from Asia, Eastern Europe and South America.