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Organised Immigration Crime

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What is organised immigration crime?

Organised immigration crime involves moving a person across borders without legal permission or documentation with the assistance of an organised crime group. It is often referred to as ‘people smuggling’. It can also involve individuals remaining illegally within a country.

Signs to spot may include:

  • Activity at isolated coastal locations, or at unusual times of the day, including attempts to guide vessels offshore to unusual areas or crew showing signs of nervousness.
  • Strange pattens of payments being made, such as the receipt of frequent cash payments from multiple sources through bank accounts.
  • False identity documents.

(Adapted from the National Crime Agency’s National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime 2021.)

Common clandestine ways for migrants to enter the UK are in transported by rail or ferry, in commercial shipping containers, or in small boats. Whatever their method of entering the UK however, without permission to work legally, migrants can be exploited and forced into modern slavery or turn to crime to support themselves. Read more at here

Also see our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking sections.

  • Crimestoppers

Say No to People Smuggling – Campaign Page and Partner Information Pack

  • NCVO

Overview What is organised immigration crime

  • Colleagues in UK law enforcement can also join the Policing Slavery and Human Trafficking Group on Knowledge Hub.

Useful Links

Information from the NPCC Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime (MSOIC) Unit Policing Slavery

Visit the Website

UK Government – Report suspicious behaviour at sea: Project Kraken and Report suspicious behaviour at a small UK airfield and airports: Project Pegasus

Visit the Website

Europol – Facilitation of Illegal Immigration | Crime areas

Visit the Website

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

If you live near the coast, waterways or a rural airfield and see anything suspicious please report it to your local police or Crimestoppers quoting ‘Kraken’ (if near a waterway) or ‘Pegasus’ (if at an airfield).

Visit our section on Human Trafficking for more information on help and support for victims.