Police in Britain have made 19 arrests in a crackdown on what is suspected to be one of the biggest people-smuggling rackets in Europe. After a series of dawn raids, officers say they have smashed a network believed to have brought up to 200,000 people into the UK. “To put it into some kind of perspective, organised immigration crime worldwide is estimated as having a turnover of about eight billion pounds a year and for the UK it is right up there in terms of the illegal trafficking of Class A drugs,” said Det Chief Supt Bill Skelly of the Metropolitan Police.
“So, it is a very significant illegal activity. “This particular criminal network is one of the largest that we have seen and today’s operation is the biggest that the Metropolitian Police has been involved in.” Police say migrants, mostly Turkish Kurds, were brought into the country in lorries and containers. Each one, they believe, will have paid thousands of euros for the long and difficult journey. In a two-year investigation, officers in London say they worked closely with their counterparts in five other European countries.