US Embassy representative comments on human trafficking incident

A Salvadoran woman was detained by police in connection to a human trafficking incident that occurred over the weekend. 43 year old Salvadorean Irma Hilda Alaz Azmitia was reportedly trafficking three boys ages nine, ten and thirteen, and two females ages fourteen and eighteen. According to reports they are all Salvadorean and  arrived in the country a week ago. The media reported that they all had fake Guatemalan passports with false US Visas. The five persons were to board a US flight when they were intercepted. This morning on Rise and Shine, US Embassy representative Thomas Smith was a guest and he commented on the matter.

Thomas Smith –  US Embassy representative:
vlcsnap-2013-03-19-19h55m48s236One of our biggest concern is why is someone trying to smuggle children into the United States? For what purpose? That’s the key thing and I think the most important thing is a combination of diligence and vigilance at the border and inspection and also public awareness of the problem – don’t allow yourself to become a victim of trafficking.

Louis Wade – Rise and Shine Host:
Now, as it pertains to these kids that were going into the US, they were caught in Belize.

Thomas Smith –  US Embassy representative:
Yes, the hope is that when someone shows up at the airport or at customs here in Belize, someone is looking at the VISA and they are able to figure certain things on that page, because the VISA is a small fold that is placed inside the passport and there may be certain things that jump out at them. Maybe the birth could be wrong, the age of the child could be wrong or their name is wrong. There are a lot of things. You can trip up very easily on trying to forge or copy a VISA.

Louis Wade – Rise and Shine Host:
So as it pertains to a US VISA, even the Belizean Immigration and different parts of the world, I presume, they are also trained in properly recognizing US VISAS.

Thomas Smith –  US Embassy representative:
Does that mean its fool proof? Of course not, it’s not. The other thing is when people get off the plane at the board of this inspection, in this case,  I believe you said  it would be Charlotte or Miami or wherever it was – customs and border patrol are also trained obviously to look at the VISAS and start asking questions about where the VISAS were obtained.

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