Why one victim is grateful to the illegal people-smugglers

 

Joshua Kaguza (not his real name) and his wife paid a people-smuggler almost £3,000 to organise passage from their home in east Africa to Ireland.

The couple travelled on false passports and visas, and the smuggler accompanied them on the journey through Amsterdam and Dublin, where they applied for asylum.

It's the kind of journey that carrier sanctions aim to stamp out by penalising airlines and ferry companies that transport migrants without proper papers.

Yet Joshua has just been granted refugee status in Ireland and might never have escaped persecution if European immigration authorities had been as efficient as they would like to be.

Smugglers and traffickers of humans might currently rate as one of the most reviled species, but Joshua has no regrets or apologies about his investment.

For Joshua, his accomplice was simply following in the noble tradition of people like Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who transported thousands of Jews to safety during the second World War.

"Moses did everything to bring his people to the Promised Land. It's just history repeating itself," he says.

Smuggling helped Joshua escape the turmoil that had engulfed his home town, where government militias had accused him of aiding the local rebel movement.

He had been harassed, detained and interrogated on several occasion before making the decision to leave.

"To get out of Africa you have to be intelligent and you have to have money," Joshua said.

A prosperous businessman and farmer, he sold land and crops to raise the money for the false documents and air tickets.

He thinks the proposed new laws are "a big blunder" which will never work because airline staff will not be able to spot forged papers.