SriLankan Airlines says cracking down on costly human trafficking
Aug 15, 2017 16:56 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines said it has been cracking down on human smuggling at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport with at least five people with forged passports detected in recent weeks.
A statement said a considerable portion of illicit traffic takes place through international airports, despite stringent measures in place to prevent it.
Criminal elements in the region were making many attempts to pass passengers bearing incomplete or fraudulent documents through the BIA, it said.
“The national carrier’s airport and security staff are especially trained in document checking, with training provided by several foreign embassies in Colombo,” it said.
“In recent weeks alone, SriLankan staff detected five persons with forged passports who were attempting to board flights at BIA.”
The airline said it also works closely with other authorities at BIA, including Immigration, Customs, Airport & Aviation Services and the Sri Lanka Air Force to thwart the efforts of these criminal gangs.
“Human trafficking is a serious challenge for airlines around the world,” the statement said.
“When such persons evade detection and are discovered after arriving at foreign airports, the airline that carried them face stiff fines from authorities, especially in Europe.
Fines range up to 5,500 euros per passenger (about Rs900,000) in some European countries.
Airlines must also bear the cost of the detected person’s return by air to his or her country of origin, are liable for the cost of detention rooms at foreign airports, and sometimes even investigation costs borne by the concerned authorities.
“SriLankan itself recorded a 46% reduction in fines for such illicit travelers in 2016, in comparison with the previous year,” the statement said.
“Illicit travelers include Sri Lankans and persons of other nationalities, who are usually attempting to travel to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East Australia, and even the North America, often lured by the prospect of employment in those destinations.
“Many ignorant travelers are duped into paying massive sums of money to human trafficking rings who supply them with forged travel documents or documents of other people.”
(COLOMBO, August 15, 2017)