Australia Police opens Mannar surveillance post to stop human smuggling.
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): With the ever increasing illegal immigration attempts by sea to Australia from Sri Lanka, the Australian government has further strengthened cross border surveillance to crack down on Sri Lankans taking the risky sea journey.
A new office to combat smuggling, human trafficking and maritime crimes centered around maritime areas in the Mannar district was opened on Thursday (26).
The Australian Police has granted Rs150 million to set up the new office to control human smuggling and trafficking centered on the seas off the Mannar district. , informed official sources said.
The event to declare open the office was held with Senior Officer of the Australian Federal Police Colombo Post Detective Superintendent Robert Wilson as the Chief Guest.
The main aim is to prevent people getting on boats to travel to Australia, as there is zero chance of getting there.
Working with the Sri Lankan Police and other agencies within Sri Lanka means that we try to prevent people losing their money to people smugglers through scams and other frauds and cheats, Detective Superintendent Robert Wilson disclosed.
“Or if they do get on a boat, risking their lives. The boats they get on are not sea worthy and there’s little chance of getting to Australia. If they do get the chance of getting near Australia, they’ll be turned back and returned to Sri Lanka,”he elaborated.
Senior law enforcement officials said that some organizers of people smuggling were now selling the European Union (EU) and the UK ‘dream’ to vulnerable youth and families of those who had relatives in Europe, stating that the EU and the UK did not have the ‘Zero Chance’ stance that Australia had enforced on illegal migration
In 2022, approximately 1189 Sri Lankans were detained by Sri Lanka Navy while attempting an illegal maritime journey to Australia.
“We cannot be complacent. There is still plenty to be done in educating vulnerable Sri Lankans about the dangers and repercussions of these illegal journeys,” officials added.
Key to this education is the Zero Chance anti-people smuggling communication campaign, which informs, educates and deters vulnerable Sri Lankans from undertaking a dangerous and futile maritime journey to Australia.
Official sources have also revealed that they are investigating the brother of a Sri Lankan government MP over allegations of people smuggling to Australia.
The revelations paint a picture of the ineffective measures put forward by the Australian government to fix the issue, according to experts.
June 2022 saw the highest number of illegal boat interceptions by the Australian Border Force since 2013. All were from Sri Lanka.
The stark increase is in large part due to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, which has cut off basic services to millions of people.