Brussels Criminal Court: up to 8 years’ prison for Calais human traffickers
Thursday, 29 June 2017
The Brussels Criminal Court sentenced twelve human traffickers to between three and eight years in prison. Moreover the accused men received fines of between €480,000 and €2,160,000. The Court imposed upon them a basic fine of €6,000, in each case multiplied by the number of asylum seekers that they had cheated. The chances of seeing these fines paid are very small.
All twelve suspects, eleven Syrians and a Kuwaiti, belonged to two gangs, the members of which all knew each other. They met in the so-called “Jungle”, the makeshift refugee camp, near Calais, to recruit asylum seekers and refugees. They forced them to travel to Brussels-North, Ghent-Saint-Pierre or Berchem. They next dispatched their victims by car to the motorway car parks in Grand-Bigard (a village in Brabant) Tronchiennes (in Drongen), Alost (in East Flanders) and Tielt (West Flanders).
Once there, they were stowed in lorries or refrigerated vehicles, before going to Great Britain. The traffickers were demanding between €1,500 and €2,500 per victim. Up to one hundred refugees may have been conveyed in this way between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. One of the convoys was intercepted which enabled the police to trace it back to its source.