Up to 5 years in prison for gang that smuggled almost 200 people into the UK

A court in Brussels has sentenced eight members of a people trafficking gang to up to 5 years in prison. The court ruled that Sudanese and Eritrean members of gang formed a well-organised criminal organisation that abused its victims’ desire to reach the UK.  

The gang was successful in smuggling just under 200 people into the United Kingdom between July and October 2018. They were aided and abetted by a number of Belgian nationals that provided accommodation for the transit migrants. However, none of these were prosecuted.

The investigation got under way after the police detained a number of illegal immigrants in the Maximiliaan Park and Brussels North Railway Station. Soon afterwards detectives detained a gang of people smugglers that recruited transmit migrants that were hanging around the park.  

They charged their victims between 500 and 2,500 euro. The transit migrants took the train from Brussels to Rochefort-Jemelle station in Namur Province. They then went on foot via a disused railway line to the Wanlin Rest Area along the E411 motorway 15 km away. There they were loaded into refrigerated trailers bound for the UK.     

Three leaders of the gang were sentenced to 5 years in prison. The five other accused were given sentences of between two years and 40 months.