Haiti – FLASH : Arrest in Chile of a Haitian, mastermind of student visa trafficking
Following the large number of suspicious requests for student visas, a report sent in 2016 by the Consulate of Chile in Haiti was the starting point for a long investigation in Chile into an alleged smuggling of Haitian migrants.
After more than 5 years of investigation, the Metropolitan Investigation Brigade on Human Trafficking of the Investigative Police (PDI) of Chile this week arrested the main accused in this case.
This is Wilguins Astreide (39), Haitian citizen with permanent residence in Chile, who operated from Chile, where he acted as attorney for “presumed students” to manage their visa in order to bring them to the country supposedly to study, but in reality, once they arrived in Chile, Haitians would get a work visa charged by Astreide between 1,000 and 1,500 US dollars.
What caught the attention of investigators was that all of the information associated with these visa applications was accompanied by the same address, which identified Astreide.
Bitrap’s Deputy Commissioner Sebastián Ortega explained that investigators then had to trace each of the student residence visas issued. Nearly 200 suspicious visas have been analyzed. For each of them, it was necessary to determine the date of entry into the country, the educational institution in which they were supposed to be enrolled, to subsequently verify that the candidates had indeed completed the studies for which they were arrived in Chile.
The investigation succeeded in proving that at least 20 Haitian citizens had entered the country, between 2015 and 2016, with their registration with the “Compañía Nacional de Capacitación” a private technical training institute and it was shown that these visas were obtained with false documents and the crime of migrant smuggling could be established.
Despite the arrest of Wilguins Astreide, the investigation carried out in collaboration with the Central North Prosecutor’s Office continues to try to find out if this mechanism exists in other types of cases, which the investigators do not exclude. “We are now investigating to determine if this is an isolated case or if it could be a recurring modus operandi” concluded Deputy Commissioner Ortega.