Increased penalties for people smuggling

Minister Van der Steur and State Secretary Dijkhoff for Security and Justice want to get tougher on people smugglers by increasing the length of prison sentences. The aim is to combat the degrading activities of these offenders more effectively. By increasing the penalties they also want to do greater justice to the gravity of the crime. The

Minister and State Secretary will introduce an emergency Act as early as this month to ensure that the measure comes into effect on 1 January 2016.

The maximum sentence will be increased from 4 to 6 years. Longer sentences will be possible for activities carried out in the course of exercising an office or profession. In this category the maximum prison sentence will be increased to 8 years instead of the current 6. For activities performed as part of an organised group there will be a 10 year prison sentence instead of the current 8. The Minister and the State Secretary will also give greater weight to grievous bodily harm or death as a result of people smuggling. In that case the respective perpetrators can be put behind bars for as long as 15 or 18 years.

The tougher sentencing is a source of encouragement to the police, judiciary and Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary (KMar) who are investigating the internationally operating criminal partnerships behind these crimes.