Written by Tharushan Fernando
24 Feb, 2017 | 7:36 pm
Police have commenced an operation to arrest a human trafficker.
Information on this trafficker came to light following the arrest of eighteen persons who were suspected of trying to leave the country illegally for New Zealand by boat.
Navy Spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Chaminda Walakuluge, speaking to News1st, said the suspects were arrested in Negombo by the Navy through a joint operation conducted with the police, following a tip-off.
On February 17, police arrested six persons in Kadirana, Negombo. It was stated that they had allegedly attempted to illegally migrate to New Zealand by boat. The suspects were residents of Negombo, Marawila, Kalmunai and Munneithivu.
According to the Navy Spokesperson illegal migration has focused attention on other destination because Australia has tightened its migration policy
Australia beefs up refugee and asylum seeker policies
The Australian coast guard boasts the resources of the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (through its Coastwatch division), and the Police services of the states. In addition, the Sri Lankan shares intelligence with the Australian Coast Guards making things harder for potential trafficking attempts. Thus, the trafficking journey that has a tendency to end in tragedy has now shifted focus to Australia’s neighbour New Zealand.
In addition, Australia beefed up its maritime and military presence along its northern coastline as part of strengthened efforts to further deter people smugglers, following the move by U.S Homeland Security in the United States began the arduous process of vetting refugees for resettlement under a recent “one-off” agreement with the Obama administration back in December 2016.
According to the Refugee Council of Australia , the country has seen a number of changes to its policy since last year, when it comes to refugees and asylum seekers, largely as a political response to an increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat (51,637 arrivals in the five years to December 2013) and a consequent increase in deaths at sea between Indonesia and Australia (at least 862 deaths recorded over the same period).
Major political parties have attempted to address this issue through deterrence-based policies which block access to protection in Australia and impose penalties on people who arrive by boat.
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