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Young woman caught smuggling refugee in her suitcase

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 3/01/2017 Saphora Smith

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A young woman has been caught trying to smuggle an African refugee into Spain inside her suitcase.

The 22-year-old Moroccan woman was stopped by Spanish border control in Ceuta, a Spanish city in north Africa.

She could face up to seven years in prison for human trafficking if found guilty

Police said they grew suspicious when the woman looked unnecessarily nervous after passing through a third control point to enter the city, one of Europe’s two land borders with Africa. 

On stopping the woman, border guards found a 19-year-old man from Gabon curled up inside her case.

He was conscious and unharmed but was taken to hospital for a routine check.

It is not the first time police have found migrants hiding in the luggage of travellers entering Spanish territory from north Africa.

In May 2015 police found an eight-year-old boy hiding in the suitcase of a different Moroccan woman.

His father, who was suspected of having paid the woman to smuggle his son into the country, was later arrested on the Spanish border.

Many migrants desperate to make it to Europe from north Africa are being increasingly inventive with the way in which they try and reach European territory, where they can claim asylum.

On New Year's Day more than 1,000 sub-Saharan Africans reportedly tried to jump Ceuta’s heavily-guarded border fence.

Human rights groups said it was one of the largest mass attempts to cross the fence on record.

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