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The Latest: French Official Says 200 Trafficking Gangs Found

The Latest: French Official Says 200 Trafficking Gangs Found

Wednesday, 04 November 2015 05:19 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest as tens of thousands of people flood into Europe in search of a new life. All times local.

10:40 a.m.

France's top security official says 200 human-trafficking networks have been dismantled since the beginning of the year, including 30 in the tense Calais region where thousands of migrants are hoping to cross the Channel for a better life in Britain.

In an interview with Europe 1 radio Wednesday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said any French citizens caught trafficking would be punished. Ahead of a news conference by the local prosecutor, he did not confirm the Europe 1 report of a French fisherman's arrest in a network in the northern port of Dunkirk.

Northern France, in particular the Calais region, has become the increasingly desperate temporary home to thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty in their homelands. Dunkirk, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, is also a major port.

10:05 a.m.

Germany's federal police are conducting raids against international human trafficking networks across Germany. More than 500 officers were conducting searches of 24 homes in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

A federal police spokesman said Wednesday they were targeting "criminal, internationally operating trafficking groups." The spokesman, who did not give his name in line with department policy, said he could not give any further information yet, because the raids were still ongoing.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have flooded to Germany in recent months seeking to escape war and poverty and start a new life. Many of them pay human smugglers to take them across the borders into the country.

—by Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin

9:45 a.m.

Greece's coast guard says the total number of people rescued from a boat carrying people from Turkey to the nearby Greek island of Lesbos has increased to 65, while a total of five bodies were recovered from the water.

The coast guard said Wednesday that the bodies were those of three children and two men. There were no further missing people reported.

The migrant boat ran into trouble north of Lesbos Tuesday night. Details remained unclear.

The coast guard says a total of 457 people were rescued between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning in 13 separate incidents.

More than 600,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year, with most arriving on Lesbos. From there, they make their way to the Greek mainland on ferries and then head overland to more prosperous European Union countries in the north.

Thousands of migrants are stranded on Lesbos due to a ferry strike that began Monday.

8:30 a.m.

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn says the symbolic gesture of Wednesday's relocation of the first 30 refugees from Greece to his country is "only a start, but a very, very important start."

He and other EU officials say that the practice of some EU countries to erect barbed wire fences at their borders trying to keep refugees out was not in line with European values.

Asselborn says: "Walls, fences and barbed wires cannot be part of the European Union."

He said that if Europe fails to change such images as well as bouts of xenophobia, "then the values of the European Union are destroyed in some way."

7:45 a.m.

The first group of refugees to be relocated from Greece has boarded a plane in Athens bound for Luxembourg.

They include six families from Syria and Iraq. They form the start of a program seeking to relocate refugees who have arrived in Greece from nearby Turkey to other European Union countries without them having to make the arduous and often dangerous overland journey across the Balkans on foot.

More than 600,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Greece so far this year, most of them in the last few months.

Hundreds have died as their overloaded and unseaworthy boats and dinghies overturned or sank in the Aegean.

On Tuesday night, four people — two children and two men — drowned trying to reach Greece.

— Elena Becatoros, Athens, Greece

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


   
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The latest as tens of thousands of people flood into Europe in search of a new life. All times local.10:40 a.m.France's top security official says 200 human-trafficking networks have been dismantled since the beginning of the year, including 30 in the tense Calais region...
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2015-19-04
Wednesday, 04 November 2015 05:19 AM
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