Fighting a multi-million dollar business
The smuggling of Vietnamese nationals continues to be a lucrative $300 million business, the Council of Europe estimates. The complex network across Europe where each stage, each country, might be run by a different group, can make prosecution that much harder…
Court records show that the gang involved in the Essex 39 tragedy had a long-standing smuggling operation and profited £1 million (U.S. $1.35 million) in that month alone.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, crime operations have even used the tragedy to continue to recruit migrants, and bolster their bottom lines. “People that are organizing this in Vietnam, they’ve actually used the deaths of the 39 people as a promotion type, by saying, ‘Yes those were the bad smugglers. They were the bad people to get you there. We do it properly. We can charge a little bit more but you’ll get there safely,’” said Kevin Hyland.
In Germany, the Federal Police Office is trying to combat human trafficking by going after other crimes connected to it.
“For us it is very important that the different manifestations of this type of crime aren’t considered separately, but seen as a whole and connected. That means that we don’t consider smuggling as a separate crime, or human trafficking, or the illegal sale of cigarettes, as separate crimes,” said Chief Detective Nicole Baumann of the German Federal Police Office. Many Vietnamese illegals can be seen peddling cigarettes at busy commercial centers.
“We have to try to look at these forms of crime as under one roof, and every agency has to be practically involved in the prosecution.”
Germany’s federal police agents work closely with state police and customs and border agencies, youth welfare offices, even unions and professional counseling services, expanding control activities that could uncover human trafficking crimes.
A key element for German law enforcement is to involve and cooperate with NGOs who provide cultural training and other forms of collaboration, and work with the government of the source country, Chief Detective Baumann said…
While tackling the demand for illegal and forced labor in Europe, anti-modern slavery experts agree, any approach to combat trafficking from Vietnam must tackle conditions in the source country, such as few educational or economic opportunities, that are pushing citizens to leave their homes and risk becoming trafficked.
Until governments start to take control of the options provided for their citizens, by providing education, training for work, and properly paying jobs, it will be difficult to stem the flow of migrants seeking better opportunities elsewhere.