A London hairdresser is facing extradition to France over people-smuggling allegations as it emerged that as any as 30 UK-based criminal gangs are involved in the illegal cross-Channel trade.
Neda Amini has been named as part of an investigation into networks that accept payment to transport illegal migrants from France to Britain.
Ms Amini, a hairdresser from Bexleyheath in southeast London, was brought before Westminster magistrates as part of an extradition order. A European arrest warrant claimed that she was involved in sourcing migrants of various nationalities, including Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan – to send to the UK by boat and then collect payments from them after their arrival. Westminster magistrates’ court was told that she helped to source people to make the dangerous crossings, which were led by her French-based partner.
Judge Timothy Godfrey ordered her extradition “in order to prosecute her for three offences arising out of her alleged involvement in a network of people smugglers”. Ms Amini argued that extradition was against her human rights because she has to care for her son and has health issues.
Originally from Iran, Ms Amini has lived in the UK for more than 15 years. Yesterday she denied being involved in people smuggling and told the court that her partner had become threatening.
At the weekend the National Crime Agency announced it was monitoring as many as 30 British gangs involved in the illegal trade. Migrants are reportedly being charged an average of £3,000 to cross, with payments reduced if they agree to work for the gangs on arrival in the country. Encrypted phone apps are used for communication between the migrants, British gangs and their European counterparts.
An agency source said:
“This is a multimillion pound business empire. There are around 30 gangs in Britain being looked at. They are ruthless, this is purely about money.”