The Flemish rightwing party N-VA wants to make climbing inside trucks outside of ports and on car parks next to motorways a punishable offence.
The phenomenon will only increase if Brexit happens, and the party wants to hand the police and justice system the means to take vigorous action against transmigrants, according to N-VA, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
The Chamber of Representatives approved a bill during the previous legislature that introduced fines up to €500 and prison sentences from eight days up to six months for entering a port without permission.
Under certain circumstances, like committing the offences in a group or at night, or when property has been damaged, the fine can increase up to €1,000, and the prison sentence can go from eight days to one year. If the same person is caught again within five years, the maximum sentences can be doubled.
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According to N-VA, an average of 90 transmigrants are discovered in the West Flanders province every week. In the meantime, a lot of uncertainties about the Brexit remain: in case of a hard Brexit, truck drivers risk having to stand and wait for a long time at ports, which is attractive for people smugglers. Transmigrants can then take advantage of the long waiting times to climb in trucks to get to Great Britain.
By making climbing in trucks punishable, N-VA wants to further strengthen the dissuasive effect. "By making this a punishable offence, pre-trial detention and effective criminal prosecution become a possibility, which will be an important deterrent element in the fight against human smuggling," said Member of the Chamber of Representatives Christophe D'Haese, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
The Brussels Times