UK to Probe Up to 100 Lawyers for Helping Criminals Get Asylum

Attorneys allied with organized crime groups help their members exploit human trafficking or slavery laws to find refuge in the UK, investigators say

The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is preparing to launch an investigation into up to 100 lawyers suspected of helping criminals get asylum in the country, Rob Richardson, the head of the NCA’s modern slavery and human trafficking unit, told British press on Thursday.

“So it’s been well reported that there are concerns that particularly Albanian organised crime groups are frustrating law enforcement efforts by claiming that they are victims of trafficking or seeking asylum, and where we are particularly interested from a NCA perspective is how does the legal industry, how do lawyers, support organised crime groups to do that,” Richardson told the newspaper.

The NCA is “conducting a survey at present to understand who are the high-risk agents” and “it’s less than 100, it may well be in the 10s,” he added.

The NCA, which is the UK’s version of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, believes attorneys that are allied with organized crime groups help their members exploit human trafficking or slavery laws to find refuge in the UK, Richardson said. For example, criminals are specifically told what to say to police officers to look exactly like a victim in need of assistance.

Between January and March, over 4,700 people applied to the UK Interior Ministry as potential victims of modern slavery, which is 25% more compared to the same period last year, according to the newspaper.

Illegal migration has been a pressing issue for the UK for years and only intensified after the country left the European Union in 2020. As of March 31, there were 138,052 asylum applications in the UK awaiting an initial decision.

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