Brussels ‘Boat Mafia’ Trafficking Migrants to Britain, Record 4,000 Illegals Have Arrived in 2020

Migrants, believed to have been picked up from boats in the Channel, are brought into the harbour on-board Coastal patrol vessel "HMC Speedwell", in the port of Dover, on the south-east coast of England on August 9, 2020. - The British government on Sunday appointed a former marine to lead …
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Since the start of the year, over 4,000 illegal boat migrants have successfully reached British shores from France. Reports suggest that a clandestine “Boat Mafia” is operating in Brussels to establish another beachhead for the people-smuggling trade.

On Saturday, another 151 migrants reached the United Kingdom in small boats, being brought ashore by the British Border Force. The latest crossings take the total number of recorded illegal arrivals by boat to an estimated 4,100. The number has again set a yearly record and more than doubled the number of migrants for the whole of 2019.

Britain’s immigration minister, Chris Philp, is set to meet his French counterpart in Paris on Tuesday, to discuss how the two countries can curtail the growing problem, including “interceptions and returns”, according to Sky News.

“We intend to return as many migrants who have arrived as possible,” Philip said.

The French government has so far been unwilling to acquiesce to British requests for immediate returns of illegals, often citing non-binding maritime laws that say that ships may not intervene at sea unless explicitly called upon by the migrants for help. Migrants have also been recorded threatening to throw their own children overboard if confronted — although none appear to have faced criminal charges for it.

Now the French government is reportedly demanding that the British pay them £30 million. This is on top of the more than £100 million that the British government has paid the wealthy European country to stop boats and other illegal migration methods over the past six years.

With increased scrutiny being placed on the migrant route in the English Channel from France, a people-smuggling group has reportedly established itself in Brussels — the main seat of power for the European Union — in order to create another route for migrants illegally crossing into the United Kingdom.

An investigation by the Daily Mail revealed that a group of human traffickers calling themselves the “Boat Mafia” have set up a human trafficking operation in Belgium to financially exploit the increasing waves of people trying to illegally make it to Britain.

It is estimated that there are some 1,000 migrants currently in Brussels awaiting boat transport to the United Kingdom, with traffickers offering passage for as little as £500 and a “more guaranteed crossing” package costing between £2,000 and £3,000 per migrant.

The report stated that hostels, hotels, and charity refuges are booked solid with migrants, resulting in hundreds camping out in Maximilien Park and the city’s central canal quayside.

A volunteer, who helps feed the hordes of migrants, told the paper that “there is a real mix of people who want to discover your beautiful country,” adding: “They are mostly economic migrants, rather than refugees. Now there are more and more of them. It’s hard to feed them all.”

The migrants are mostly young men from Africa, with others hailing from Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran. The migrants are allegedly taking to selling cocaine and marijuana in order to make enough money to pay off the boat mafia, with some even resorting to robbing other migrants at knife-point.

An Afghan migrant, Abuzar Afzali, 30, told the paper: “The park is a dangerous place at night. There are men with knives there and sometimes the boat mafia come.”

“I want to pay them what they ask for so I can get to the UK, but I don’t have the money yet. Some sell drugs to get the money. These bad men – the boat mafia – are the only way,” Afzali explained.

Last year, 26 people-smugglers were arrested in France and Belgium following the death of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry bound for Britain from Brussels.

The head of a local migrant charity in Brussels, Mehdi Kassou said: ‘We are stuck in a situation that inevitably leads people to their death or into the hands of traffickers who lead them to their death.

“Smugglers could not give a damn about the fate of migrants,” he declared.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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