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People Smuggling: Who wants a €40000 ticket?

  • August 11th, 2013
  • Posted by EU Australia

Refugees - UNPolice in Spain and France have rounded up 70 members of a gang they say has been smuggling people from China into Europe and the United States.

In Italy, with the Summer peak for boat arrivals now approaching, six have died as a fishing boat from North Africa with over 100 passengers foundered on the shore, at a swimming beach near Catania in Sicily.

Australia’s part in the refugee drama has officials waiting to see the impacts of the “PNG policy”, diverting all arrivals to an island in Papua New Guinea, or to neighbouring Nauru – as a disincentive to boat trips promising settlement in Australia.



Spanish authorities said the China operation was the work of an organised crime syndicate, based in China, and charging over €40000  (A$58000;, 11.8.13) for a conducted tour into the ‘West’.

They found false passports for countries including Singapore and Taiwan, and believed the organisers sent agents to travel with the clients, routing them through the city of Barcelona.

refugees 2In Italy, reports from the scene said some jumped off the boat too early and drowned as it negotiated an off-shore sandbar, in the latest of many bad mishaps that have seen at least 40 people dead in the first half of this year.

A United Nations report says that 8400 people arrived in Italy, in boats, during that time; mostly from North Africa, with others coming across from Greece and Turkey.

Exposed because of its closeness to the African coast, Italy has been taking in most of the traffic through the often-crowded island staging post of Lampedusa; very close to Libya and the site of last month’s Papal visit, Pope Francis urging prayers and compassion for the people coming in from the sea.

See EUAustralia Online, Mass Migration, Asylum: signs of the times, 23.9.10.

Handling the procession of boats, and the frequency of deaths at sea, is a persistent issue in the political contest in Australia ahead of the elections on 7.9.13.

The government is pressing on with a publicity campaign, taken from a budget allocation for such purposes running up to A$30-million, warning people off-shore, but inside Australia as well, that those arriving by boat, won’t be allowed in.

It says relatives and other contacts inside the country hold the keys to many of the ill-advised journeys, with people from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka or Vietnam currently providing the main numbers.

Most go to Indonesia to then make the hazardous crossing to Christmas Island, Australia’s ‘Lampedusa’.

The political Opposition in Australia says the domestic-based advertising campaign is a case of government-funded electioneering; while floating a plan of its own to turn over border protection to a central agency, with a military General in command, and provisions for suppressing news of the arrival of boats.

Matched against a strong, long-term record for accepting asylum seekers, Australia’s rejection of those coming via the boats route has become accentuated with the growing number of fatalities.

A report into organised crime, by the Australian Crime Commission, counts 964 people dead or resumed dead, over ten years until mid-2012; the trend accelerating, more than 600 of those deaths having occurred since October 2009.

Global Post, Boston, Six migrants from Africa drown off coast Sicily; 100 rescued, 10.8.13., (11.8.13).

SBS, Sydney, Crime report details asylum seeker deaths at sea, 30.7.13. in 2009-10 and 89 in 2010-11, (11.8.13).

UNHCR, NY, Italy: Some 8,400 migrants, asylum-seekers reach Europe by sea in first half of 2013, 8.7.13.,400-migrants,-asylum-seekers-reach-europe-by-sea-in-first-half-of-2013, (11.8.13).


Pictures  UN