free webpage hit counter

Channel smugglers lower prices and get more people onto boats Immigration and Asylum

People smugglers have slashed their prices and are cramming more people than ever before into already overloaded, fragile boats, the Guardian has learned.

This week, 696 asylum seekers crossed the Channel from France to the UK in a single day, the Ministry of Defense said.

Campaigners say the increased numbers arriving on overcrowded boats with cheaper crossing prices show that plans to forcibly remove some asylum seekers arriving in the UK on smaller boats are not working as a deterrent.

Last November, according to reports in the Mirror, French police quoted a price of around £5,000 charged by smugglers to cross the Channel for a single person. Now asylum seekers and non-governmental organizations say prices have dropped to between £500 and £1,000 for a place on the boat.

Until April this year, the government published less detailed data on the number of small boats arriving in the UK from France but official figures showed an average of seven people aboard a small boat in 2018, an average of 11 people a boat in 2019, an average of 13 people a boat in 2020 and an average of 28 people a boat in 2021.

Detailed data from April this year shows a significant upward trajectory, with 696 crossings in 14 boats, with around 50 people on Monday’s crossings.

Although there is some variation in the number of boardings per ship, the trend has been sharply upward following the announcement on April 14 of an agreement to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

From May onwards, and increasingly in June and July, most days show an average of 40 or 50 people on a single boat. On Thursday 388 people crossed in eight boats – an average of 48 or 49 people per boat.

28,526 crossed last year, up from 8,404 in 2020 and more than 13,000 this year, more than 8,000 since the Rwanda policy was announced on April 14.

Arrival of asylum seekers

Official reports predict that the Rwanda plans are unlikely to succeed, but say the government is determined to press ahead.

Handa Majed, founder of the charity Kurdish Umbrella, said there had been a significant change in the way smugglers operated in northern France since the home secretary announced the Rwanda plans, but she said there was no evidence it had worked. As a deterrent. He said traffickers simply “set up” their business model.

“Initially, smugglers were scared after Rwanda’s announcement. So they cut their prices in half,” said Majeed.

“Smugglers are kings in this region. He is telling people not to worry about Rwanda. Jungle right now [Calais refugee camp] is full and smugglers are offering it at low prices. They are keeping their profits by putting more people in the same boat. Smugglers adapted to Brexit and now they are adapting to Rwanda again.

“Even if some traffickers are arrested, others take their place. Their business model doesn’t stop, it adjusts. They used to put 30 people on a boat, now it’s more.

Syrian asylum seekers told the Guardian that smugglers had dramatically lowered their prices. “Before it crosses £3,000 or £4,000. Now the top price is £1,200 and some asylum seekers are negotiating prices as low as £500 to cross. Everyone can afford to cross these days. Some asylum seekers are saying to smugglers, ‘Why should I pay you £4,000 to get to the UK when I’ll end up in Rwanda? I’ll pay you £500’. Then the deal was done. “

Sign up for the first edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday at 7am BST

A spokesman for French NGO Utopia 56 said asylum seekers were crossing into the UK more quickly than before, spending on average a few weeks in northern France instead of months.

He said: “The quality of treatment of asylum seekers by the French government is decreasing every day. In Grande-Synthe [Dunkirk] 500 people live without access to water, and more than 1,000 people live on the streets or in small forests. Food and health care are left to citizens and NGOs.

“We are seeing new communities in the camps. It was first mainly Kurdish, Pakistani and Afghan people. We are still seeing people from those countries but also people from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Vietnam and Albania. The threat of Rwanda did not change the crossing of thousands.

A Government spokesman said: “The increase in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable. People should always seek refuge in the first safe country they reach rather than risk their lives in the pockets of ruthless criminal gangs.

“Under our new migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda, we are continuing preparations to relocate those making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys, so they can have their rights considered and rebuild their lives there.”

Government sources said they were unable to comment on operational matters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Enter the overturned seaside renovation of an artist: The Irish Times
Next post Annual house price growth saw the ‘slowest single-month pace’ since the early 1970s. Does this mean homebuyers are finally relaxing?