Belgium police have detained five members of a people trafficking gang during a large-scale operation in the town of Ghent. The gang used a safe house to bring migrants to the nearby E17 motorway.
The gang members stayed in a burned out villa near a lorry park along the motorway. While lorry drivers were sleeping the police broke into trailers used for the migrants hoping to enter the UK illegally.
Patrick Willockx of the Federal Police service said 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.
The police raided the safe house and carried out checks on the lorry parked along the E17 highway. A total of 70 officers were involved in the operation. In addition to the 5 gang members 20 undocumented migrants were also picked up. Their fate is in the hands of the Aliens’ Office.
The police in Belgium 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 car and lorry parks”, a police spokesperson told VRT News.