Albanian Ambassador Admits Illegal Migrants Lying About Modern Slavery Claims to Get Into UK

Thousands of Albanians protest on Westminster Bridge against comments made by Home Secreta
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Albania’s ambassador to the United Kingdom has admitted that some of his countrymen are “pretending” to be victims of modern slavery in order to inroad their odds of being granted asylum and receiving better treatment.

Speaking before the Home Affairs select committee on Wednesday, Albanian Ambassador Qirjako Qirko aknowledged that citizens from his country were trying to abuse the UK’s generous asylum system by claiming to be victims of modern slavery.

“It seems that the people who are arriving here pretend to be victims of modern slavery,” the ambassador said in comments reported by the Daily Mail.

Albanians spuriously claiming to be victims of modern slavery is nothing new, with reports from last year indicating that migrant marijuana growers would claim that they were being forced into the black market trade in order to avoid punishment.

There has been a significant surge in illegal migration from Albania to the UK over the past year, however, with one UK government estimate claiming that over 2 per cent of the entire male population of the Islamic country between the age of 20-40 arrived in Britain this year, alone.

Albanian migrants have made up a third of the 44,000 illegal boat migrants to arrive since the start of the year. Out of those, some 3,432 Albanians claimed to be victims of slavery, making them the number one ethnicity to make claims under the Modern Slavery Act. The National Crime Agency, among others, have warned that they may be using such claims to be able to stay in Britain longer.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who drew the ire of the Albanian community by branding the migrant crisis in the English Channel an “invasion”, has reportedly begun considering enacting measures to prevent Albanians from claiming that they are victims of modern slavery.

Ambassador Qirjako Qirko said that he believes that the surge in his citizens coming to the country was influenced by people smuggling propaganda on social media sites like TikTok and Facebook where they are drawn in by the promise of economic opportunities in the UK. Albanians are said to be working on both ends of the illegal migrant trade, with armed Albanian gangs reportedly acting as human traffickers in Calais, France.

“I have been in contact with some people asking for our embassy services. And some of them explained that yes, we are victims of TikTok and Facebook, we have come here because we thought it was easy to start a business,” he said.

“Yesterday, I was talking to a gentleman from the south of Albania. He was running a small bar then he said he saw on TikTok that there was an opportunity to open the same kind of business in the UK. But after three weeks [he] realised it was not possible so he came back to Albania.”

When pressed on whether he believes that the Albanians arriving on British shores were coming for economic reasons, he said: “Yes, people are coming for the same reason that the Italians, the French and the Germans… to seek better opportunities.”

“In general they are youngsters who are very easy to manipulate based on what they see on social media. The reality when they arrive is different.”

Some Albanians have argued that it is necessary for them to flee from their country due to the high level of corruption, however, others have noted — including the ambassador — that it is a safe country and therefore it is not correct for the UK to offer asylum to illegal migrants from the country.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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