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Apr 4, 2016

Are Salvadoran Immigrants a Part of Human Smuggling Operation?

Judith Alpuche

Details are extremely sketchy and law enforcement authorities aren’t talking officially, but News Five has been able to confirm that at least eleven illegal immigrants were detained on Saturday night in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. Sources tell us that the intelligence-driven operation led Police to the home of an elderly man where they found the immigrants, allegedly Salvadoran, inside the house. Reliable information is that the persons came across the border from Melchor and were at the residence awaiting pickup and transportation as part of an alleged human smuggling operation. Police would not comment, and referred us to the Immigration section at the border, where we were referred to Immigration headquarters in Belmopan which then referred us back to Benque. News Five managed to get a brief comment from Human Development C.E.O. Judith Alpuche this morning.

 

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development

“Human smuggling is within the purview of the Immigration Department and the police and because that is a crime against the state. The Human Development gets involved in terms of human trafficking…so not to confuse smuggling and trafficking. Trafficking is when people are being moved for the purpose of exploitation; human smuggling is when you are paying someone to move you across border, so you are paying for the service. But we do get involved when it comes to unaccompanied minors. As a matter of protocol though, when there are people being smuggled, they are still screened—particularly children, they are still screened to ensure that they are not victims of trafficking because sometimes it becomes really grey and the lines can be crossed quite easily. Especially as it relates to minors, as I said, they are screened and if it is determined that…at any rate, the Ministry of Human Development will step in to take custody of the child and then we work with their countries of origin to get them repatriated or to ensure that they are safe.”

 

Reporter

“In this case, there was a minor involved. Have you gotten in contact with authorities as it relates to this minor?”

 

Judith Alpuche

“The protocols are normally there that they contact us as a matter of course when it comes to minors.”

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