What methods are used by stowaways?

What methods are used by stowaways?
Stowaways are people who seek to travel abroad illegally in or under a trailer. This remains a major problem, which is difficult to solve. But how do these so-called 'stowaways' operate? Knowing how they operate can help reduce the climbers' problem. We explain.

The individual 'stowaways'

Individual ‘stowaways’ try to make the illegal crossing to the United Kingdom independently. They say that they plan their journey based on information obtained from friends and acquaintances. They book a cheap flight to Amsterdam. The journey is easy (for Albanians) because they are allowed to travel through Europe for three months without a visa. They use Google Maps to work out how to reach the Port of Rotterdam. The most difficult thing is getting to the Hoek van Holland marshalling yard. They are caught when they climb over the fences. Many migrants stay in old bunkers until they’ve found a gap in the fence or another shortcut. Sometimes they jump into the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal in order to swim around the electric fencing. On the Hoek van Holland site, they cut open the tarpaulin of a lorry and climb into a cargo hold, before resealing the cut again on the inside. This group of criminals has a major chance of being caught. Although they say they planned their trip independently, there is often a people trafficking network behind it.

Organised people traffickers

A lot of the people trafficking that goes on is organised by the Albanian mafia. The Albanian mafia is inventive, always finding new places or ways of trafficking migrants using lorries, rubber dinghies, sailing yachts or small aircraft. They operate like professional companies and leave few traces behind. For thousands of euros, you can travel to the UK in a refrigerated container or a sealed cargo hold. Migrants are collected from meeting points during the night by people traffickers to transport them to a car park along the motorway out of the view of the cameras. From these car parks, they are put into the cargo hold of a lorry and transported to the United Kingdom. Because of the effective insulation, finding stowaways in refrigerated containers can be difficult. Sniffer dogs are extremely effective at checking lorries for stowaways and are also used to check refrigerated containers.

Sources: TLN / BDU, NOS, AD, TROUW, EenVandaag, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.

Whitepaper stowaways

This article is part of the stowaways whitepaper, which we have written together with TLN (the Dutch trade association Transport en Logistiek Nederland). Would you like more information about the stowaway problems and how you can prevent stowaways in your truck or trailer? Then download the complete 'stowaway' whitepaper

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