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Saturday, January 29, 2011

People-smugglers target Australian Hazaras

January 29, 2011 - 12:34AM

AAP

Sophisticated people-smuggling syndicates charging thousands of dollars to ferry asylum seekers from Afghanistan to Australia are preying on Hazara communities in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

The syndicates charge clients $12,000 for the trip and are believed to have generated tens of millions of dollars in the past two years, The Age newspaper reported on Saturday.

A well-placed source in the Afghan community told the newspaper this week:

Advertisement: Story continues below "The syndicates are an open secret within the Hazara community.

"Everybody knows who runs them, who to approach and who makes the money.

"It is astonishing they can operate so openly."

The largest Australian-based smuggling operation is believed to operate out of nondescript shop fronts in Dandenong, in Melbourne's south-east, home to thousands of Afghan refugees, including many of Hazara ethnicity.

The top smugglers have Australian citizenship and travel unimpeded between Australia and Afghanistan, it is claimed.

The smugglers boast they can reunite family and friends with relatives living in Australia within months, if not weeks.

© 2011 AAP

Source: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/peoplesmugglers-target-australian-hazaras-20110129-1a8lz.html

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