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Examples of human smuggling cases in Canada

The United Nations estimates that human smuggling is currently one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide. Smuggling is a booming industry and Canada has become a favoured destination for refugees of all kinds and it seems they would rather pay smugglers and enter Canada illegally, risking their lives then going through proper channels. But it should be noted that most of the refugees do enter Canada legally.

The RCMP says that between 1997 and 2002, smugglers assisted about 12% of the 14,792 improperly documented migrants who were intercepted in Canada. On average, about a quarter of a million immigrants have been admitted to Canada legally each year since 2006, according to figures from CIC. In 2011, 248,660 immigrants became Canadian permanent residents, down from 280,636 in 2010.

It is not the first time that boats were overturned and lives lost, including children, because of the number of people on board and it is discovered they are refugees. For one to risk their lives and the lives of their children have to be a decision based out of fear to get away from where they are and certainly in desperation for a better life. However, without a doubt smugglers paint a pretty picture and toy on their emotions promising them that this is their best chance of reaching Canada and getting inside its borders. A service for a very high price.

Examples of smuggling cases:

  • March 27, 2012: the SV Tabasco 2 sailboat with nine people aboard was crippled in rough seas on Nova Scotia’s southwest coast, about 148 kilometers south of Cape Sable Island. The disaster, which cost one man his life and left three others missing, may have been a failed human smuggling attempt, federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said. Several of the survivors, all believed to be from Eastern Europe, claimed refugee status. The case is under investigation.
  • March 26, 2012: Savita Singh-Murray of St. Stephen, N.B., and her brother-in-law, Mohamed Yusuf, a Toronto resident, were sentenced to two years in prison. Ravindra Hariprasad, also of Toronto, was handed a one-year sentence in provincial jail. All three were found guilty in September 2011 of encouraging people to enter the United States illegally between May 5, 2007, and May 11, 2009. They were conspiring to set up two smuggling jobs, involving a Guyanese woman and a married couple from Guyana at the Maine – New Brunswick border near St. Stephen, according to police.
  • June 7, 2011: Canadian and U.S. border police intercepted a group trying to smuggle people from New York state in Ontario. A joint investigation involving several law enforcement agencies led to the arrests of six people — three in Canada and three in the U.S. — near Lansdowne, Ont.
  • Aug. 12, 2010: The MV Sun Sea docked in Victoria, B.C., with 492 Tamil migrants aboard. Most settled in B.C. and southern Ontario waiting for their refugee claims to be processed. Some were granted refugee status as of March 2012 and at least 14 had been deported.

Mary Jone Causing Buchholtz
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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