SEF boosts border guards following complaints about endless passenger queues

Officially, today’s boost of 55 border guards at the country’s four main airports is down to the start of the summer season.

Unofficially, it is being seen as a response to ‘concerns’ raised by the Confederation of Tourism over interminable queues, which saw Spanish newspaper El Pais dub Lisbon airport “chaos” last December (click here).

With news on the potential airport ‘expansion’ south of the river in Montijo still far from confirmed, the situation now is that Lisbon has 22 new SEF inspectors, Faro 20, Porto eight and Ponta Delgada in the Azores 4.

The reinforcement coincides with a week in which yet another case of suspected child trafficking was detected attempting to pass through Lisbon: an Angolan man, travelling with three women and their babies.

Say reports, the man “guaranteed he was in transit for Cape Verde, which put inspectors on the alert”.

“An analysis of the (man’s travel) documents raised suspicions further and he ended up being arrested”, writes Correio da Manhã, suggesting the Angolan was a facilitator for a human trafficking network that brings people into Europe “to obtain subsidies”.

The women and babies are being cared for in a temporary asylum centre within the airport complex.

CM says the woman immediately requested asylum, while the man will appear before magistrates charged with helping illegal immigration, belonging to an illegal trafficking network and falsification of documents.

In 2018, SEF border guards registered 26 similar cases: 59 people were identified as victims of trafficking, 19 of which were children.

Says CM today, another 45 ‘trainee’ inspectors are expected to be taken onto SEF airport payrolls before the end of June.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com