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Trinidad: Smuggling migrants not a criminal offence

Smuggling migrants is not a criminal offence in TT and it is not covered in the Immigration Act, says Chief Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews.

Gandhi-Andrews was speaking Wednesday to the media after a ceremony entitled “Presentation of Technical Assistance Documents on Smuggling of Migrants,” at the Ministry of National Security, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.

She said the Immigration Act only covers the illegal entry of a person, in which the illegal entrant is prosecuted, rather than the person who smuggles an individual into the country.

“What you have in effect is…the migrant coming in being prosecuted, which is a serious offence, because it carries with it a $50,000 fine and three years’ imprisonment.

“The Immigration Act speaks about aiding and abetting a person who breaches the law. “However, it is very difficult to prove if the migrant is not co-operating and giving information about the person who actually smuggled them into the country or who helped them break the law.”

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