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Belgium smashes human trafficking ring ‘smuggling migrants into Britain’

Belgium smashes human trafficking ring ‘smuggling migrants into Britain’

Ten people were arrested during raids in the Brussels region on Sunday. Three were released without charge while the remaining seven – all male – were placed in pre-trial detention.

All have since been officially charged with offences relating to “human trafficking within the framework of a criminal organisation,” the Brussels public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The trafficking ring was based in Brussels and would smuggle “up to 20 migrants” into Britain a day by hiding them inside UK-bound refrigerated lorries, according to prosecutors.

The migrants are said to have paid the smugglers anything between £430 and £2,200 (€500 and €2,500) each for the journey, local prosecutors said.

The investigation was launched by the federal judicial police of Brussels in late July following the arrest of a group of illegal immigrants near the city’s Gard du Nord station.

The number of illegal immigrants in the UK is rising by 70,000 a year, according to a Migration Watch UK report published last month.

It estimates that the gross annual rise in the illegal immigrant population – visa overstayers, clandestine arrivals and failed asylum seekers – is 105,000 a year, while only about 35,000 of the annual total are being deported or depart voluntarily.