People traffickers detained at Ghent safe house

Police have detained five members of a people trafficking gang during a large-scale operation East Flanders. The five were detained on Thursday morning. The gang used a safe house in the Ghent suburb of Gentbrugge to bring migrants to the nearby E17 motorway.

The gang members stayed in a burned out villa near to a lorry park along the motorway. While lorry drivers were sleeping they broke into trailers allowing the migrants hoping to enter the UK illegally.

Patrick Willockx of the Federal Police service told VRT News that this was not without risk.

"Any kind of trailers was used. For example the migrants were hidden in refrigerator trailers and tankers”.

The gang had already attempted to smuggle 30 illegal immigrants into the UK. These were men, women and children, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan.

On Thursday the police raided the safe house and carried out checks on the lorry park along the E17. A total of 70 officers were involved in the operation. In addition to the 5 gang members 20 undocumented migrants were also pick up. Their fate will be put into the hands of the Aliens’ Office.

The police in East Flanders are often confronted with the issue of people trafficking. "With a total of 7 lorry parks along the E40 and E17 motorways we often find victims of people trafficking in and around the ca rand lorry parks”, a police spokesperson told VRT News.