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The perils of people smuggling revealed.



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The Perils of People Smuggling Revealed MPS 063/2000

Three hard-hitting video media releases documenting the perils of illegal travel, were today unveiled by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, as the latest tools in the Government's fight against people smuggling.

The video media releases, containing real-life messages from people who arrived in Australia illegally, will be distributed to international networks and media in various source and transit countries, Mr Ruddock said.

"These are very powerful weapons against a criminal trade in human misery," Mr Ruddock said.

"They are all the more forceful for containing messages from people who actually put themselves in the hands of people smugglers, and who want to warn their families and friends against travelling illegally.

"These are stories of being stranded in foreign countries, dealing with criminals, and indescribable dangers en route," Mr Ruddock said.

"These are people who believed the lies of the people smugglers, and who now want to warn others against making the same mistake.

"The recent unrest in Australia's detention centres is an indication of the extent of the lies told to these people by the smugglers. They came here expecting unrestricted entry. The reality of detention and an uncertain future is a shock.

"The Government will offer these messages to various countries of first asylum and transit countries in the hope they will help ease the burden illegal travel is putting on many countries around the world.

"What is becoming increasingly clear is that the only winners in this illegal trade are the people smugglers. "But the victims of people smugglers are not only those who pay for illegal travel, they are the countries, such as Australia, which have to bear the burden of this trade," Mr Ruddock said.

"All of these countries suffer from the illegal movement of people in some way or other, and I will be discussing with their Governments ways in which we can work together to alleviate this global problem," he said.

"People smuggling is a trade closely associated to prostitution and drug trafficking, and until there is a universal approach to stamp it out, people, and countries, will continue to suffer."

Mr Ruddock also released information aimed at informing Indonesians of the recent long jail sentences handed down to fishermen who transported people to Australia illegally. "One of the lies told by people smugglers is that crew receive lenient sentences and are quickly returned to their families.

"This package will be disseminated in Indonesia to tell the truth to fishermen, who are also victims of people smugglers," Mr Ruddock said.

15 June 2000 Media Contact: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715

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