Punjab-origin man gets over 5 years in jail for human trafficking in UK

Harbans Lal Doll tried to smuggle 14 Iraqi nationals and two women from Albania.

world Updated: Nov 26, 2017 11:49 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Harbans Lal Doll,human trafficking,Home Office
Harbans Lal Doll tried to smuggle the group of 16 people.(Image courtesy: UK Home Office)

Harbans Lal Doll, who tried to smuggle 16 illegal migrants – mostly Iraqi nationals – into the United Kingdom in his van across the channel from France earlier this year, has been jailed this week for more than five years.

Slough-based Doll tried to smuggle the group of 16 people, comprising 14 Iraqi nationals (three families) and two women from Albania, the Home Office said, adding the group was later passed on to the French Police Aux Frontières.

Britain’s Border Force officers posted at the UK inward tourist controls at the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, France, stopped the hired van on February 12. They questioned the driver, Doll, 61, who was at the wheel. He said he had left the UK the previous day to go to Calais to collect some furniture and had stayed overnight before collecting the furniture that morning.

When officers asked to examine the load, they found the van three quarters full of beanbags and chairs with a double mattress stood upright part way inside the van. Hiding behind the mattress, the officers found the 16 people, including five minors.

Dave Smith of Border Force said: “Doll was arrested and the investigation passed to Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) officers. He was subsequently charged with assisting unlawful immigration into the UK.”

Doll pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial at Canterbury Crown Court and was sentenced immediately to a jail term of five-and-a-half years.

David Fairclough of CFI said: “Though Doll offered no explanation for his behaviour, the judge considered in his sentencing that the motivation was financial. Offences like this, where individuals take advantage of the desperation of others for personal gain, are among the worst that we deal with at CFI.”

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 20:48 IST