immigration minister Mike O’Brien said there have long been fears
that the trade in trafficking people into Britain would eventually
lead to tragedy.
North Warwickshire MP said illegal immigration is not the same issue
as asylum, because many illegal immigrants do not claim asylum.
Britain is not the only country with a problem, as other European
nations, especially Germany, France and Italy have a higher level of
O’Brien said of the deaths of dozens of Chinese people in the back
of a lorry last week:
tragic death of 58 clandestine entrants in the back of a
hermetically sealed refrigerator lorry is an indictment of the
criminal traffickers in human misery.
poor people were seeking a new life and ended up dead. I do not wish
to prejudge the police investigation, but for some time the
authorities have feared that the international criminal gangs who
traffic in illegal immigrants would kill someone.
is evidence of trade in bound labour from the far east where poor
people promise to work for a pittance for years in the west to repay
thousands of pounds charged by these smugglers. These gangs operate
out of a number of countries smuggling people into Europe,
especially to France, Germany and Britain."
explained how he was involved with new legislation which was aimed at
warning drivers off taking part in the trade:
1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, which I put through Parliament,
introduced civil penalties on hauliers and drivers found with
illegal immigrants in the back of their lorry.
lorry drivers found with them just denied any knowledge that they
were in the back. Now, they will be fined £2,000 per
a result drivers now search their lorry and the numbers of clandestines
going through Dover has already been cut by 26 per cent in the two
months since the Act came into force.
is close co-operation with other countries in tackling the criminals
and these links are being progressively strengthened. These gangs
are killers, often located in other countries. They do not care
about human safety, caring only for profit".