Major Channel Migrant Human Trafficking Network Busted in France

An asylum seeker family carrying a child stands next to riot police officers during their evacuation from a makeshift camp set along the Canal Saint-Denis in Aubervilliers near Paris early on July 29, 2020. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)
CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images

French police have arrested what is being characterised as a major people-smuggling operation behind many of the small rubber boats that have carried illegal migrants across the English Channel to the UK.

Police arrested six Iraqi and Syrian men during raids in the city of Sin-le-Noble in northern France. The alleged human traffickers are said to have played a “crucial” role in facilitating dozens of illegal boat crossings since at least May.

During the raids, police also seized 14 inflatable boats. Four of the suspects are set to appear in court in Boulogne on Friday.

A source told the British tabloid The Sun: “This was a sophisticated operation and required a painstaking investigation which lasted several weeks.”

“Messages on encrypted phone apps are believed to have revealed the links to Britain. There is information sharing between the UK and the French.

“French police are thought to have used phone taps to help nail them. It’s a major victory but in no way will this bring to an end the problem.”

It is believed that the people smugglers had connections to organised crime gangs in Britain, enabling the traffickers to offer discounted rates for helping the illegal aliens reach the UK in exchange for providing “slave labour” in laundrettes, takeaway restaurants, and cannabis farms owned by the British-based gangs.

In September, a source in Calais claimed that illegal migrants sign a “pact” with traffickers before setting sail for Britain, saying: “It’s in pretty poor conditions. They’re essentially the property of the smuggling gangs and the gangsters in the UK.”

“Someone paying money back through unregulated work is worth much more than the discount,” he added.

The pervasiveness of the modern-day slave trade in the UK was highlighted by a report from the Centre for Social Justice in July. The report estimated that there are some 100,000 people working as slave labourers, with 10,000 alone working in the fast-fashion textile industry in Leicester.

The report went on to confirm that human trafficking operations work in conjunction with organised crime in Britain in order to exploit Middle Eastern and Eastern European migrants, who enter into “debt bondage” before illegally travelling to the UK.

“Human traffickers and Organised Crime Groups are running riot in too many communities. Very few face prosecution relative to the number of victims found and even fewer are convicted. As the number of victims discovered has skyrocketed in the last five years, convictions have barely increased,” the report said.

The arrest of the people-smuggling operation in France comes as over 100 more illegal migrants landed in the UK since the beginning of the week, with around 60 migrants landing on Monday and a further 53 reaching British shores on Tuesday.

Clandestine channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney trotted out the standard government response to the record waves of migrants, saying the illegals should “claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives by leaving France in a small boat”.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage shared footage of some of the boats crossing the Channel on Tuesday, in what he described as “extremely rough and dangerous conditions”.

“I see no prospect of the government honouring their pledge to stop this illegal trade,” Mr Farage said, questioning: “What is the point in a Conservative government?”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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