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Over 20,000 Sri Lankan child departures probed

28 November 2023 08:39 am - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, Nov 28 (Daily Mirror) - The Department of Immigration and Emigration has busted a major child smuggling racket that operated between Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the UK and has handed over findings of a lengthy probe to the CID after examining over 20,000 child departures from Colombo, the Daily Mirror learns.

A senior detective of the Department told the Daily Mirror that from over the 20,000 departures generated from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in recent months involving children under the age 16, a probe was launched into 150 visits made to Malaysia, and then it was narrowed down to 17 departures, indicating a distinct pattern.

SL Immigration and Emigration Controller General Harsha Illukpitiya ordered an inquiry last April when the Malaysian immigration authorities busted a syndicate to smuggle Sri Lankan children to the UK and deported a 16-year-old child back to Colombo.

The Malaysian media reported in April 2023 that a local couple was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur immigration office for accompanying a Sri Lankan child as their offspring applying for a Malaysian passport.

Preliminary investigations by the Malaysian authorities revealed that an organised syndicate was paying the parents of poor Malaysian families with underage children to get their birth certificates and information to apply for Malaysian passports for Sri Lankan children matching such descriptions.

The Sri Lankan children who were successful in getting a genuine Malaysian passport had been sent to Europe and the United Kingdom and the syndicate had received 30,000 to 50,000 Euros for each Sri Lankan child sent to Europe with a Malaysian passport.

The SL Immigration Department’s Investigation Division following the immigration chief’s orders commenced an inquiry and recorded a statement from the child who was deported back to Colombo.

They learnt that the child, a resident of Jaffna had been sent by his parents having paid a sum of Rs7.5 million to an unknown agent who is now suspected to be an international child smuggling syndicate operative.

The senior immigration detective said they managed to establish a pattern in 17 child departures from BIA to Malaysia from December 2022 to April 2023 and there is substantial evidence to believe that 13 children out of this had managed to land in the UK and France with Malaysian passports.

“After finding the background information of the 13 children, we managed to find their parents and addresses in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. We subsequently visited these areas and made sure that the children had been sent to the said countries,” he said.

Accordingly, the immigration investigating division officials found all these children were Tamil nationals and eight of them were from Jaffna and five from Batticaloa. They included 11 boys and two girls, who were between the ages of 11 to 16 years. Out of this, 11 children are suspected to have landed in the UK whilst two in France.
During preliminary inquiries, the parents of these children have claimed that their relatives based in Europe had arranged and funded this opportunity to send their children to such countries by paying several million rupees, the official said.

Once the five-month-long preliminary SL immigration department investigation was completed a full report had been furnished with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in August 2023, where the Controller General had lodged a complaint with the CID’s Human Trafficking, Smuggling Investigation and Maritime Security Investigation (HTSIMSID) to investigate the matter further.

The police officials from the HTSIMSID who took over the probe recently reported facts to the Colombo Chief Magistrate and a full inquiry is underway to find the key operatives of the syndicate. 

However, the local immigration authorities too are continuing investigations to determine the motive of this child smuggling racket. 

 11 SL children with Malaysian passports suspected to have landed in the UK whilst two in France


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  Comments - 10

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  • YLG Tuesday, 28 November 2023 09:03 AM

    What has SL have to offer these kids apart from a whole lot of corrupt people. The system has to change if one wants to keep these kids.

    These children will become kings and queens i in UK Tuesday, 28 November 2023 09:06 AM

    "The local immigration authorities are continuing investigations to determine the motive of this child smuggling racket." What a joke!!!! The answer is simple. PARENTS WANT TO SEE A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THEIR SIBBLINGS.

    So Tell Me Tuesday, 28 November 2023 11:53 AM

    I knew Jeffrey Epstein's mate Bill Gates visit to Sri Lanka was sus...

    Hard Truth Tuesday, 28 November 2023 01:00 PM

    With money, anything is possible in any country, especially in Malaysia. Truly corrupt Asia.

    Hard Truth Tuesday, 28 November 2023 01:03 PM

    Future Brain Drain at its best

    Ram Tuesday, 28 November 2023 02:02 PM

    These children could have been sold to foreigners and then gone through the court system for adoption. The court decisions must be reviewed to see if they are genuine applications and if not laws must be amended to fix the situation

    Kaliepoch Tuesday, 28 November 2023 03:22 PM

    This George Sorrroz's world. No Pontiff in Rome or Vatican or else Kaliyougaya.

    Ranjith Perera Tuesday, 28 November 2023 09:42 PM

    Did it need 20,000 cases for it to be investigated

    dotv Wednesday, 29 November 2023 02:33 AM

    Is this poverty or some fool hardy thinking to send children in their formative years to live away from parental care to the unknown in a called developed countries for a better future ..Parents conditioned to believe on the dollar value life styles seem to have moved away from the traditional care giving to a new approach to give their kids a better life .Some where we have crossed the line and may be take this risks with our kids who steps out to the unknown alone among strangers .after this ordeal of been smuggled out .Sad world indeed .Reading this story it sounds more than a children smuggling story .its parental care all gone wrong ..People are still recalling and interpreting the story of orphans being sent out to the unknown from UK, to make a living in Australia as a child abuse story of once upon a time .

    CHRISTINE k Wednesday, 29 November 2023 04:34 AM

    You would be surprised at the number of child abuse victims in the West. It is always best to find out more before naively sacrificing children


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