French Pro-Migrant Group Suspected of Human Smuggling and Far-Left Links

Homeless migrants stand next to tents installed a day before during an action organised by
JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

A French pro-migrant association known for organising large pro-migrant protests is on the radar of French intelligence over alleged links to people smugglers and far-left extremism.

Utopia 56 has allegedly been on the radar of French intelligence services for some months, the claims assert. The activist group is well-known for organising protests, mainly in Paris, that have seen hundreds of migrants camp in major historic squares and parks demanding housing from the government.

According to a report from the French conservative newspaper Valeurs Actuelles, an intelligence note dated from April of this year claims that branches of the group in Lille and Rennes have close ties to the left-extremist scene.

The note also claims links between members of the group and people smugglers, saying: “Links between the smugglers and the members of the association appear to be emerging.”

“On January 27, 2021, in the early evening, in Grande-Synthe, a Utopia 56 activist was actively looking in a migrant camp for a minor to bring him back to his brother who had an appointment with a smuggler,” the note alleged.

According to Valeurs Actuelles, members of  Utopia 56 have also been in contact with migrants attempting to cross the English Channel illegally to the UK.

A police source told the newspaper they suspect that many of the migrants involved in Utopia 56 protests are not actually homeless but claimed the group convinces them to temporarily live on the streets in order to put pressure on the government.

Formed in 2015, Utopia 56 began its work at the formerly notorious Calais Jungle migrant camp and has greatly expanded its activities to at least seven cities, including Calais, Grande-Synthe, Lille, Paris, Rennes, Toulouse, and Tours.

The group also appears to be funded by several foundations and is partnered with the pro-migrant NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as well as the major software corporation Salesforce which are both listed as partners on the group’s website.

Whether the claims are true or not, accusations of pro-migrant NGOs being linked to people traffickers is not a new phenomenon. Prosecutors in both Italy and Greece have made similar claims in recent years, particularly regarding migrant taxi NGOs.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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