When asked how the illegal immigration through the sea, Frank Lappin, who runs a surveillance station in Norfolk County, said it was "as easy as pie".
The monitoring station, managed by Lappin, is a non-governmental organization, National Coast Monitoring Institute (NCI), located in Caister Village, Norfolk County, eastern England. According to Carol Ellero, a volunteer at NCI, Norfolk's vast beaches, which have a coastline of up to 145 km, and flat terrain make it easier for traffickers to "smuggle" migrants, especially in remote areas.
The number of trafficking victims discovered in Norfolk has tripled in the past five years. According to data from the National Crime Agency (NCA), 21 people are believed to have smuggled through Norfolk in 2018, including two women from China and Hungary at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking. sex. Meanwhile, the number of victims in 2014 was 7.
Ellero said NCI's goal is to detect suspicious activities. Volunteers from this organization and the Marine Safety Group, which runs the Pakefield Coast Monitoring organization in Suffolk County, are also trained to respond to emergencies.
Volunteers sometimes come across ships that do not use an automatic identification system (AIS), a device that helps signal the boat's location. Their mission is to track ships not appearing on British Coast Guard radar. In case of detecting suspicious signs, they will notify coast guard, border guards and police.
However, illegal immigrants do not always hide in suspicious boats. On September 24, 21 migrants, including 19 men and two children from Albania, were found on a cargo ship transporting a wind turbine when it was about 8 miles from the coast of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk County. kilometer.
The turbine ship carried 21 Albanian migrants to the coast of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, on September 24. Image: BBC.
According to Linda Lawrence, manager of NCI's monitoring station in the town of Cromer, north of Norfolk County, migrants can take advantage of the large gaps between stations located along the county's long coastline. "It is very easy to move at night. They can go half way by boat, then transfer to small boats," she said.
Geoff Mann, manager of the Pakefield monitoring station in Suffolk County, agrees with Mrs. Lawrence's views. "They can certainly take advantage of this loophole, especially at night. However, this is more than 160 km from the Netherlands, so crossing the sea on unsuitable ships is extremely dangerous," Mann said. talk.
95 km of coastline between Pakefield and the town of Felixstowe in Suffolk County is completely unregulated. An incident occurred in this "loophole" in May 2017, when seven suspects of illegal immigration were pulled from a sailboat stuck in the village of Orford.
In addition, the difficulty of recruiting volunteers and the lack of suitable facilities to operate the monitoring stations made the long coastline control in Norfolk and Suffolk counties difficult. Stations only operate during the day, except for the station in the town of Felixstowe.
In the early 2000s, large numbers of Chinese migrants flooded into western Norfolk to take jobs in factories or farming. In 2004 alone, more than 2,000 Chinese immigrated through King's Lynn port. Some people fall into the hands of criminal gangs and suffer poor living conditions.
Chinese workers harvest strawberries on a farm in west Norfolk, England. Image: Eastern Daily Press.
The plight of undocumented Chinese workers was revealed by a fire on June 2, 2003. The three-bedroom home in the Fairstead Estate area, on the outskirts of King's Lynn, caught fire due to electrical overload. The government found 18 Chinese living there, then learned about their situation.
An anonymous person from the Chinese association in western Norfolk said migrants 15 years ago began to flock to the locality "to accumulate money and send it back home". Some workers were later granted legal residence rights and stable living with their families.
"History is repeating. Illegal immigration is nothing new. They find illegal routes and gamble a lot," a representative of the association said.
"People on the other side of the world look at England and think that the amount of money they can make in a week here is equivalent to their monthly income in China. This is a very tempting prospect," said the person. say more.
Luster (Follow Eastern Daily Press)
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