• Monday, November 28, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Smuggler gangs’ TikTok ‘summer sale’ boosts migrant crossings

An estimated 300 migrants reached the UK on Monday.

Military personnel bring ashore migrants who had been picked up in the channel by the border force on August 4, 2022 in Dover, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

TRAFFICKERS are offering a TikTok ‘summer sale’ for a journey across the English Channel for migrants as the rate has been reduced to £3,500 per person from £5,000 earlier, it has emerged.

This has resulted in an increase in channel crossings in recent weeks as another estimated 300 migrants reached the UK on Monday (8). Last weekend, 513 people arrived in Kent by small boat, the ministry of defence confirmed. 

The Telegraph reported that the promotions were primarily targeted at Albanians. They now make up four in ten arrivals from northern France -1,075 of 3,000 since July 12. Experts said that the cheaper price offer is to open up new markets in eastern European markets. 

Reports said that the price of crossing the Channel was £20,000 earlier, now it is between £5,000 and £3,500 per person.

One advertisement said: “Don’t pay £17,800-£18,000. They are passing by every day, it has never been cheaper.” Another showed a group in a dinghy grinning while holding the Albanian flag and promising safe passage to the UK for £5,000.

Another account, with 61,700 likes, had dropped from £5,500 to £5,000. One of its videos said: “Hurry Albanians … England is waiting.”

Now, MPs urge to restart the Rwanda plan quickly as traffickers trick migrants into racing to Britain before Boris Johnson is replaced, the MailOnline reported.

“The gangs are facing tougher action. This is a closing down sale as they are getting scared that the Rwanda policy will take off,” a Home Office source told The Telegraph.

Tony Smith, former director general of Border Force, views the summer sale as a sales pitch to encourage more people to cross the channel as ‘the business model is struggling’.

The newspaper reported that Albanians are exploiting a loophole to claim they are victims of trafficking. Then they will be considered under UK anti-slavery laws, thus delaying or preventing their deportation.

The military intelligence report confirmed that people-smuggling gangs are deploying bigger boats ordered from China.

Now multiple accounts have been discovered on TikTok selling Channel crossings and promising ‘safe passage’ – along with advice on using the asylum system.

“The French won’t stop you. On the contrary, they will escort you safely until you reach the UK water border. They were then told to contact a solicitor upon arrival in the UK who would help to concoct a ‘good story,” one smuggler was quoted as saying by The Sun.

“Social media posts used by criminal people smugglers promoting illegal crossings are totally unacceptable. This Government is already tackling this deceitful online propaganda, with law enforcement, social media companies and overseas governments,” said Priti Patel, the Home Secretary.

She said the UK had a “historic agreement” from 2021 to remove Albanians with no right to be in the UK.

Tory backbenchers have called on the next prime minister to act urgently.

Natalie Elphicke, Tory MP for Dover, told the MailOnline: “It’s clear many Albanians coming to the UK in small boats are not fleeing from war or persecution – they are economic migrants. This is blatant criminality and it underlines the urgency of getting on with Rwanda and similar schemes.”

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