World Bulletin / News Desk
Enang Syamsi, head of immigration at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, said the suspects were detained on Sunday along with three Sri Lankan children headed for the U.K., the Kompas.com news site reported.
“The syndicate uses Indonesia as a transit country,” he told a news conference. “From here, they send people illegally to European countries such as Germany and France.”
The gang used stolen or lost Malaysian passports to funnel migrants to Europe, he said.
Syamsi said the arrested men were acting as escorts to the children, adding that the gang charged $2,000 for every migrant successfully smuggled abroad.
“They choose to dispatch migrants from Indonesia because, among other [reasons], there are many low-cost flights to Europe.”
The victims were trafficked to fulfil orders from Europe for workers or children to be adopted, Syamsi said.
“The crime is structured. We are still investigating their cells in Indonesia,” he told reporters.
Indonesia is a transit country for thousands of refugees and asylum seekers headed for Europe, the U.S. and Australia. According to the Jakarta office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers are currently in Indonesia awaiting transport to a third country.