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Fewer transmigrant intrusions into Flemish ports
In 2017, the Port of Zeebrugge counted 30% fewer transmigrants than in the previous year. In general, the number of transmigrants in Flemish ports fell. That is the result of a law that makes port intrusions a criminal offence. The N-VA welcomes the law and its effect: “For all parties involved, such as police, the public prosecutor and port authorities, this law is a positive story. Even though the problem of transmigrants in the ports is not yet resolved, we can conclude that this law has delivered clear results.”
The Port of Zeebrugge has had problems with transmigrants for a few years now as a result of its connection with the UK. To counter the problem, intrusion into a port facility was made a criminal offence in 2016. “Without a legal stipulation like this, the police services near the ports were limited to making administrative arrests. Now we have a big stick,” says the party.
Prosecution and awareness-raising
The law is having an effect. In 2017, there were 2,195 intrusions into the Port of Zeebrugge by transmigrants, as opposed to 3,195 a year earlier. In total, 139 people were prosecuted in West Flanders. The public prosecutor in Bruges doesn’t prosecute every first offender. Under normal circumstances, a person will only risk prosecution after a third intrusion. If the transmigrant is violent towards the police or security services, or causes considerable damage, the public prosecutor will indeed immediately prosecute. Awareness-raising campaigns were also held by aid workers to inform transmigrants about the new law.