Comprises UKBA officials, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, others
Works with European partners to identify routes
Looking into impact on UK by associated criminal activities
31st March 2010: A cross-government taskforce is tackling Vietnamese illegal migration.
The UK Border Agency claimed the force comprises its representatives, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Association of Chief Police Officers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
The UKBA claimed the force was also looking into the “impact and harm caused to the UK by associated criminal activities”. The taskforce works with European partners to identify routes.
The UKBA made the declaration after 12 illegal Vietnamese immigrants were caught at a cannabis factory in West Bromwich during a multi-agency crackdown.
The UK has already announced its decision to provide approximately US$150,000 for raising public awareness among the Vietnamese on the risks and dangers of illegal immigration and human trafficking.
A contract to this effect has already been signed by the British Ambassador to Vietnam, Mark Kent, and the Director-General of the Immigration Department, Col. Vu Thanh Binh.
The Immigration Department is expected to work closely with national agencies, the British Embassy, local and international experts, for undertaking an intensive information campaign throughout the country.
It will include production of a documentary on migration issues. The distribution of leaflets to people will also be undertaken. Besides this, handbooks will be issued to Vietnamese officials working on migration, labor and tourism issues.
British Ambassador Mark Kent believes migration remains high on the agenda of the UK Government and is a priority activity of the UK in Vietnam. While providing favorable conditions for legitimate travelers to the UK, they are also working tirelessly to prevent people from abusing our immigration rules by smuggling or trafficking people.
Kent clarifies they will not tolerate the abuse and exploitation of people, including Vietnamese, especially through forcing them to work in cannabis factories. The governments of the UK and Vietnam continue to work effectively together to tackle such abuse.
Only recently, the British Embassy had expressed apprehensions that many Vietnamese were likely to have been smuggled into the UK by clandestine routes and some of them could have fallen victim to human traffickers.
It was asserted those unable to afford the cost of their illegal passage to the UK often found themselves locked into impossible debt, compelling them to work in cannabis factories for paying off their debts.
But the cannabis gardeners were more often than not abused and never managed to repay their debts.