Colombia expels more than 20,000 Haitians in 2016

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — On Sunday, authorities in Colombia revealed that, during 2016, they had expelled from their country nearly 34,000 illegal migrants, including: 20,366 Haitians, 8,167 Cubans, 874 Indians, 570 Congolese and 553 Nepalese, HaitiLibre reported.

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Foreign migrants were arrested mainly in the departments of Antioquia (North-West), Nariño, Valle del Cauca, Cauca (Southwest) and Risaralda (Center), said Christian Krüger, director of immigration in Colombia, who explained that the main road corridors used by human trafficking networks are located in these departments.

"The number of irregular migrants reported by the Colombian migration services in 2016 is almost four times more than in 2015,” he noted.

Colombia, Krüger said, because of its geographical position, is an obligatory route for all migrants seeking to reach Central America or North America.

"We are not the cause, nor the origin of this phenomenon, but to ensure the safety and integrity of these migrants we have had to increase our controls and work on regional strategies to combat this phenomenon and we have a zero tolerance policy against all individuals (smugglers) who benefit from these migrants to make a profit," he said, adding that on average each irregular migrant pays between $2,000 and $2,500 to these networks to cross the country.

In addition, Krüger said that, in 2016, his agency had identified new routes for migrant trafficking, using as entry points the Putumayo Departments, which border Ecuador and Amazon (border with Peru and Brazil). Also it was discovered that the Caribbean island of San Andres, was used by networks of traffickers as transit. On the island the groups of foreigners arrive with false documents, pretending to be Colombians, in order to take boats to destination in Central America.

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