Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Police Break Up Macedonian Human Trafficking Ring

From the Southeast European Times:

As Macedonia seeks visa liberalisation from the EU, it is cracking down on human trafficking. On May 8th, the country received an EU list of requirements such as "integrated border management" that it must meet before its citizens can travel without visas to EU states starting in 2009.

On April 20th, police arrested seven people from Skopje allegedly complicit in smuggling illegal immigrants to western countries over the past ten years. They followed the group for a year and made arrests in Skopje. Besnik Gudjufi, Menduh Adjami and Enes Kamberov are its suspected organisers. The other detainees were Isuf Ramadani, brothers Semi Brahimi and Naser Brahimi, and Lejla Baftijar. "The criminal group was organising a chain for human trafficking to western countries," Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska said. She credited infiltrators with collecting "evidence and documentation of smuggling of nine people from Kosovo".

The group was sending people from Kosovo to Germany, Sweden, France and Switzerland via Alexander the Great Airport. Clients who had Serbian or UNMIK-issued Kosovo travel documents received forged visas, plane tickets to their desired countries and accommodation.

According to the ministry of the interior, the Meni police operation started last year with inquiries and infiltration. After instituting these measures, police caught two emigrants sent by this group on August 11th 2007, finding them on a Skopje-Geneva flight. Authorities captured another five would-be emigrants who were flying from Skopje to Paris one month later.

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