Kurdish people-trafficking ring dismantled

Seven people-traffickers have been sentenced to prison terms of up to six years for smuggling migrants to the UK.  The seven, all Kurds, collected the migrants at Waasmunster motorway services (East Flanders) on the E17 Antwerp-Ghent motorway before ferrying them to the UK. 

In a people-trafficking blitz the gang processed at least 300 individuals between January and April of last year.  The migrants were stowed away in refrigerated lorries. The people-traffickers, all in their twenties, preferred refrigerated lorries because these are subject to fewer checks.

Six of the seven have been sentenced to jail terms of between four and six years.  Several defendants will have to pay a fine of over a million euros. The investigation revealed that the gangsters were well-organised and acted in a particularly brutal fashion.

Arrests were made as a result of co-operation between Belgian and French judicial authorities, but four gang members remain on the run.