Presentation on theme: "BALI PROCESS WORKSHOP ON OPERATIONALISING IMMIGRATION INTELLIGENCE Human Smuggling in Sri Lanka Presentation by Sisira Mendis Director Criminal Investigation."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction Sri Lanka is a long standing democratic republic. With a population of 19.9 million, the majority are Sinhala Buddhists. Indigenous Tamils form 12.5% and Tamils of Indian origin 6%. More than 7% are Muslims. The country has a market economy based on the export of textiles, garments, tea, rubber, coconut, gems and earning on tourism. A conflict between the Government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or better known as Tamil Tigers, has escalated since 1983. Government troops and rebels have fought bitter wars. In February 2002 a ceasefire came into effect. However, this has not put paid to violence altogether.
In the recent months the Government has accused the rebels of killing more than 70 soldiers and policemen. Attacks are continuing whilst the Government is calling for amendments to the Ceasefire Agreement of Prevent them. In the light of this, human smuggling has assumed different forms. In the North and East where fighting had continued, youth fled to avoid conscription by Tiger rebels. Over the years so called “Employment Agencies”, in reality fronts for human smugglers, exploited this situation to smuggle out of the country youth who wanted to evade the war. Thereafter, the rebels used their own fleet of ships and other means to smuggle youths.
The by product of this exercise is disturbing. The Tamil diaspora abroad become the best source of funding for the rebels. They raised funds through them. Obtained weapons in illegal markets to fight a separatist, terrorist war in Sri Lanka. Here is an instance where human smuggling was funding terrorism. In marked contrast, in other parts of Sri Lanka youth wanted to seek greener pastures. The lure of foreign money and new lifestyles lured them to pay large sums of money. It is significant to note that in the case of Sri Lanka, human smuggling is not only highly organised but is trans-national in character
Human Smuggling by Sea 2005…. 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Arrest of Sri Lankans 157 264 495 68 139 Arrest of Foreign Nationals ** --70 758 86 73 Total 157 334 1253 154 212 Pakistan ** - 51 398 - 59 Bangladesh - 10 36 86 15 India - 09 318 - - Russia - - 01 - - Ukraine - - 01 - - Georgian - - 05 - -
Existing Legislation in Sri Lanka Originally the legislation for Immigration & Emigration was established in 1948 and subsequently it has been amended on several occasions to combat the on going problems on human smuggling. The Acts introduced in 1993 and 1998 have enhanced the punishments up to five years rigorous imprisonment and fines up to Rs.200,000/=. Suspects taken into the custody under the provisions of the I&E Act. the Magistrate have no powers to grant bail. Bail could be granted by the Court of Appeal. It is also recommended amendment to enhance the fine upto Rs. 1 million.
Problems encountered by the Sri Lankan authorities. Inability to patrol the long coastal line effectively due to the limited resources and the exclusive deployment of Sri Lankan Navy in the northern & eastern waters. Non-availability of a separate coast guard force like in developed countries.
Significant Detections….. A detection that confirms the trans-national character of human smuggling is proved by this instance. On June 29, 2003 we intercepted “MV INVINCIBLE”. The vessel owned by a Greek National was on a voyage at sea off the South East Coast. There were 254 Pakistanis on board. The Captain of the ship was a Russian, the Second Officer a Ukrainian and five crew members were Georgian Nationals. The detection was made on a tip off we received. They were charged before Courts. The Pakistani nationals pleaded guilty. Crew of the vessel too convicted for the offencs under the I & E Act.
Significant Detections. On 25/12/2003, Sri Lankan authorities intercepted a fishing trawler “AKILA PUTHA” in the deep sea and arrested 269 Sri Lankans who were on board to Italy. When legal action was instituted, all of them pleaded guilty and each of them was imposed with punishments of one-year’s rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 50,000/= each. Facilitator Gabriel Nimal is facing criminal charges.
Dinewa Fishing Trawler A fishing trawler namely “Dinewa” was detected in East Timor by the coastal guards in June 2002. 56 Sri Lankans were on board. They were deported to Sri Lanka. One Warnakulasooriya Devapriya Thisera who is the facilitator is facing criminal charges in court.
Detection by Kalpitiya Police Kalpitiya Police in the North Western Province had detected a boat on 18.11.2004, which was heading to New Zealand along with Sri Lankans on board. Local Police were able to arrest 18 Sri Lankans whilst others escaped. Facilitator namely Hector Fernando was taken into custody and he is facing criminal charges.
Significant Detections…….. In all, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 758 foreign Nationals in the year 2003, 86 in 2004, 232 in 2005. Most of them were nationals of Pakistan, India, & Bangladesh. These nationals arrived in Sri Lanka legally by air, in order to board the vessels to travel to Western countries.
Significant Detection….. I may mention here that since the detection of 18 th Nov 2004 mentioned above no further incidents of this nature have occurred up to 06th September 2005, until 59 Pakistani Nationals who had come to Sri Lanka to go to Italy were detected by the law enforcement authorities. This is as a result of the detections and greater vigilance on the part of the law enforcement officers. An international link with the syndicates in Pakistan was discovered. Sri Lankan facilitators are facing criminal charges. The owner of vessel namely “Benrose” is also one of the facilitators in this case.
Sri Lanka as a hub point for human Trafficking Canada USA UK France Italy India Malaysia Australia Japan Korea
I Puttalama Negombo Beruwala Tangalla Kirinda Illegal Exit Points
Problems encountered by the Sri Lankan authorities….. At present most of the Sri Lankans leave for countries like Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dubai on genuine travel documents and they are met by the facilitators (Sri Lankan as well as foreign) in these destinations and make arrangements to these travelers to proceed to western countries on forge documents
Problems encountered by the Sri Lankan authorities….. There were number of incidents where Sri Lankan had been deported to Sri Lanka. It is a new trend that Chinese, Iranians, Pakistanis, Indians,Nigirians arrive in Sri Lanka in order to proceed to west. They use Sri Lanka a transit point. Sri Lankan syndicates who assist these passengers are yet to be identified. On some occasions it was detected the air line officials in Sri Lanka had involved in assisting the passengers with forge documents to board aircrafts to west.
Modus operandi of human smuggling & Trafficking. Using Legal Ports Obtaining of passports by tendering forged documents to Immigration & Emigration Department. Substitution of pages of the passports to conceal rejection endorsements made by the embassies and High Commissions in Sri Lanka. Obtaining forged visas from facilitators having paid money. Introduction of forged immigration stamps to indicate false arrivals and departures. Swapping of Boarding Cards.
Modus Operandi of Human Smuggling & Trafficking….. Using Legal Ports…… Liaise with Airport Authorities. As a transit passenger. Travel with two passports. Titre De Voyage (French temporary travel Documents.) Soggiorno (Italian foreigner’s permit). Leaving to Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong with genuine passports and obtaining counterfeit passports and attempting to leave to European countries.
Significant Detections at the Airport On 19/09/2004 the Sri Lankan airline investigation officers detected 31 passengers who attempted to leave for the UK with forge passports. These passengers originally checked into proceed to Maldives with their genuine passports and their boarding passes. Whilst they were in the transit lounge a local facilitator had handed over forged passports affixed with genuine visas and boarding passes to UK. An involvement of the Air line official was discovered and he is facing criminal charges.
Detections of forged passports, visas, arrest of facilitators & foreign nationals from 2001 to 2005 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Detections of forged Passports…… 184 202 94 217 279 Detections of Forged Visas 306 30 36 66 62 Arrest of Facilitators 26 52 50 70 48 Arrest of Foreign Nationals at the BIA …. 63 38 61 48 59 Arrest of Foreign Nationals by AHSIB - - - 03 64 No. of Deportees 1367 1946 1682 2656 3533
Analysis. It has been observed that the two major areas of illegal trafficking have been travel by air, using fraudulent documents, & by Sea, in un- seaworthy Vessels, as organized by the syndicate groups. Although, the statistics indicate an upward trend on travel by air, a drastic decrease has been observed on travel by sea. This is mainly due to the significant and effective counter measures adopted by the law enforcement agencies and the stringent punishments meted out by the judiciary against offenders
Conclusion…… The facts and figures just placed before you would convince you our efforts to tackle this problem. Your corporation in this regards is much appreciated.