Australia Turns to YouTube to Deter People-Smuggling

Posted August 2nd, 2011 at 1:55 am (UTC-5)
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The Australian government says it will videotape asylum seekers being sent to Malaysia and post the video on the Internet to try to discourage future asylum seekers.

The Immigration Department will videotape 54 boat people who will board a plane for Malaysia from Australia's detention center on the remote Christmas Island. The videos will be posted on the social networking sites YouTube and Facebook.

The boat people are the first of 800 undocumented asylum seekers being sent to Malaysia under an agreement that calls for Australia to take in about 4,000 refugees whose claims have already been processed by Malaysia.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the videos will show asylum seekers and people smugglers what awaits those who attempt the dangerous boat journey to Australia.

Bowen says he believes “word-of-mouth will spread quickly” about the videos once they are posted.

Australia has long been a destination for people from poor, often war-ravaged countries such as Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq, who used Malaysia and Indonesia as transit points on the way to Australia.

Australian law requires the detention of anyone who arrives in the country without proper documentation. It has more than 6,000 asylum seekers in detention while their applications are processed.