BBC sting exposes massive illegal Indian immigrant network in London (Lead)

July 17th, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

By Venkata Vemuri
London, July 17 (IANS) In an undercover investigation the BBC has exposed a London-based criminal network that used fake passports, identity documents and human carriers to bring in illegal migrants, mostly from Punjab, into Britain. London, July 17 (IANS) In an undercover investigation the BBC has exposed a London-based criminal network that used fake passports, identity documents and human carriers to bring in illegal migrants, mostly from Punjab, into Britain.

These immigrants were settled in around 40 safe houses in Southall, home to a large concentration of immigrants from India. Nearly all of the illegal migrants - called “faujis” in criminal parlance - are said to be from Punjab.

During the investigation, the BBC team met one of the agents, named Vicki, who was open about the fake documents he could obtain, and boasted about customers as far afield as Sheffield, Bradford and Coventry. Vicki said he could get people into the country on lorries, known as donkeys, organised by what he called his “man in Paris”, and told how he could provide a fake “original” passport that had been “checked” to beat security at a UK airport.

When Vicki was later confronted with the details of what had been filmed, he denied doing anything wrong and said it was a case of mistaken identity.

The BBC team met Indian employers who said they had no problem obtaining papers for the illegal workers, some of whom were willing to shell out huge sums of money for fake passports. There were Indian landlords renting out space to the “faujis”. And, there was no shortage of work, though the workers are grossly underpaid.

The undercover team found there was no shortage of job offers, including at a Southall chip shop where a “fauji” told of being employed for 12-hour days, six days a week at

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