Human Traffickers Intercepted In Finland

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Members of an international criminal group, smuggling people from mainland Europe to the United Kingdom, had been intercepted at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport, the Finnish Border Guard said on Thursday.

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The human traffickers were identified when a Swedish citizen and a Kuwaiti, who had used another person’s Swedish passport, were arrested at the airport in January.

The two men were on their way from Paris via Helsinki to London, the Border Guard said.

According to a preliminary investigation launched by the Crime Prevention Unit of the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District, it was not the Swedish man’s first such journey to Finland.

Between December 2019 and January 2020, he is suspected to have smuggled two other foreigners from Finland to the UK by using other people’s passports.

The investigation has also found that the Swedish citizen caught in Finland had applied for asylum in the UK as a Kuwaiti by providing false personal information to the local authorities.

The criminal offences under investigation in Finland are part of a series of operations, in which people have been smuggled from mainland Europe through various countries to the UK, the Border Guard said.

The acts are suspected to have been carried out by an influential professional smuggling ring in Sweden and the UK.

The criminal gang is suspected of having charged the trafficked persons around 8,000 euros ($8,600) for each trip.

During the investigation, close international cooperation was established with the support of Europol (the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) and Eurojust (a European Union agency dealing with judicial cooperation in criminal matters).

Members of the smuggling ring have been caught in both Sweden and the UK, where local authorities conducted home searches and arrests.

A suspect in Finland, the Swedish citizen has been imprisoned since the end of January 2020 on suspicion of organising a serious illegal entry.

The investigation into the other members of the criminal ring continues in Finland and abroad, the Border Guard said.

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