Friday, May 20, 2011

Smuggling Migrants In Freight Trucks Hits A New Low (or High)

Illegal Alien Trade is a Global Problem
Shipping News Feature

MEXICO – US – Those in Europe who are concerned about the illegal entry of immigrants will be staggered by the scale the problem sometime reaches across the Atlantic. With the free movement of EU nationals across borders the difficulties of only allowing genuine asylum cases from outside the European economic zone have been exacerbated. A recent discovery in two trucks declared as carrying freight across from Mexico into the United States this week illustrates just how massive the scale of the problem compared with the pathetic individuals who attempt to stowaway on vehicles crossing the Channel or similar international borders.

With the current state of flux in North Africa and the Middle East, Coast Guards and Customs officials on the EU borders are well used to vessels arriving packed with refugees of all types but this latest discovery must surely rate a mention in the record books. Police in the Mexican state of Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas, the southern most state of the country and bordering Guatemala, turned out just two trucks to find a staggering five hundred and thirteen illegal immigrants crushed inside.

The unfortunate individuals were found to be in poor condition despite ventilation holes drilled in the floors and roofs of the trailers. People were clinging to ropes to remain upright and others crammed between their legs on the floors. Many were dehydrated and when interviewed claimed they had each paid around $7,000 to be transported to Puebla City and thence to America.

Four alleged people smugglers fled the scene but were captured after a police chase and the nationalities of the recovered migrants reveals the scale of the problem with Japanese, Nepalese and Indian citizens held together with the bulk of Central and South American nationals.

We have written before on the increased trade flowing across the US – Mexican border and it seems better detection equipment is now being used to discover offenders within Mexico after a rash of allegations against immigration officials including prostitution and people trafficking claims. This latest find tops the previous record for a similar discovery in the state of Chiapas which was 219 souls found rammed into a single vehicle just four months ago.

These were not cases which concern the honest haulage boss or his drivers, but the sad fact is that stowaways who worm their way into an illegal passage can often cause innocent parties any amount of grief. Last year we saw the confusion which can arise when an unauthorised passenger is found aboard a truck highlighted by the Road Haulage Association (RHA). Hauliers are reminded they should ensure they take all precautionary measures possible to ensure they are not victimised for a crime they were unaware of.