Chile breaks up a criminal gang that smuggled more than 3,600 migrants out of Bolivia

Chile reported this Friday on the breakup of a criminal gang committed to the illegal trafficking of migrants that helped more than 3,600 people, including minors, enter the country through unauthorized border crossings from Bolivia.

A total of nine people of different nationalities were arrested, including Venezuelans, Bolivians and Chileans, who charged each migrant about $ 200 to enter Chile and bus to the capital.

“There was a significant threat to the lives of all trafficked people, considering they had to cross the desert on foot late at night and then in many cases remained crowded in houses in Colchane, where they were until the Occurrence of human trafficking were arrested. ” . the trip to Santiago, “said prosecutor Carolina Suazo.

The border crossing between the small Chilean town of Colchane and Bolivia, an Andean region at more than 3,600 meters above sea level with extreme temperatures, has become a common route for foreigners arriving in Chile in the last few months, although this has been at least a year so far 9 people died.

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Neither the pandemic nor the social crisis, which lasted more than a year in 2019, alienated the desire to emigrate to Chile, one of the most attractive countries in Latin America due to its political and economic stability.

According to the Ministry of Immigration and Migration, there are 1.4 million migrants in the country, which is more than 7% of the population, and Venezuelans are the most numerous, followed by Peruvians, Haitians and Colombians.

“We have thousands of migrants captured by these gangs who deserve millionaires. These people then remain in absolute administrative informality,” said Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado.

To curb illegal entry, the Chilean President, the conservative Sebastián Piñera, passed a new, stricter migration law in April that requires foreigners to apply for a visa in their countries of origin.

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The rule also allows the government to deport migrants, and since April more than half a thousand people of various nationalities have been deported on at least five charter flights.

The mass deportations were sharply criticized by various people’s and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the United Nations, which warned of serious violations of the fundamental rights of these foreigners.

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