People smuggling trade flourishing

Al Jazeera given access to network taking asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia.


    People smuggling networks taking asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia are flourishing despite Jakarta's pledges to combat the trade.

    Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen gained rare access to a network of smugglers who revealed some of their closely-guarded methods.

    These include using secret compartments taking asylum seekers to Australian waters and then issuing distress calls in the hope of being picked up by rescue boats and taken to Australian detention centres. 

    The Indonesian government says it is looking at laws to curb people-smuggling as none currently exist, while in Australia critics argue that the government should do more.

    Pamela Curr, the campaign co-ordinator of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, said that Australia needs to put in place legislation to resolve the issue of asylum-seekers.

    "The problem is that Australia has to take responsibility. We have to resettle people, we can't just warehouse them up in Indonesia," she told Al Jazeera.

    "They're not refrigerators or cars ... because there's no market for them we cant just lock them away. They're human beings and they need a place to call home."

    Curr said Australia should consider the cases of those already heading to its shores and accept them if they are proved to be refugees.

    Australia, which accepted 35 people for resettlement last year, has an agreement with Indonesia to stop boats carrying asylum seekers.

    See also: Tamils risk all to flee Sri Lanka

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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