Australia-Sri Lanka talks: Four-point plan to fight people smuggling

Media release

17 December 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced a four-point plan to fight people-smuggling – to be discussed with Sri Lankan government and naval authorities and including increased on-water co-operation, intelligence sharing and reducing incentives for smuggling ventures.

Senator Carr is in Colombo for the inaugural Joint Working Group on People Smuggling and Transnational Crime, chaired by Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

"There is a message from these talks to people in Sri Lanka – by getting on that boat you risk your life, you'll lose your money and you will be sent back home," Senator Carr said.

"We're setting a clear agenda for intelligence sharing, naval co-operation and helping rebuild Sri Lanka – all designed to reduce people smuggling.

"I welcome Sri Lanka's strong support for anti-people smuggling activities, and look forward to increased co-operation in destroying the people smuggling business model."

Senator Carr said today's talks would focus on:

Information and intelligence sharing

On-water disruption

Sending the message

Reducing demand

Senator Carr thanked his Sri Lankan counterparts for existing co-operation against people smuggling, which had seen 65 smuggling ventures involving 2,900 people disrupted this year, and the involuntary return of more than 700 Sri Lankan people-smuggling clients since August 2012.

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