Migrant smugglers make up to £300,000 from EVERY Channel crossing – horrific stat exposed

Kevin Saunders: France could do more to help the migrant crisis

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Dan O’Mahoney, the UK’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, warned the coronavirus pandemic had made Channel crossings a “profitable” opportunity for criminal gangs. He said travel restrictions had led to fewer alternative routes for migrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK.

Prior to 2020, most asylum seekers arrived by plane, ferry or train.

Exploiting vulnerable people, smugglers are charging as much as 4,000 euros per person to cross the Channel in dinghies, according to the Home Office official.

With some small, inflatable boats packed with as many as 18 people, gangs can rake in hundreds of thousands per crossing.

Mr O’Mahoney told MPs on the Home Affairs committee: “Because of the Covid restrictions on travel, many of which are not yet lifted, this single method of entry is now deepened and intensified and has become so profitable for criminals that it is going to take a phenomenal amount of effort to shift it.

“Just to illustrate that, two weeks ago we had a single boat with 88 migrants on board across the Channel.

“Each one of those migrants might pay say 4,000 euros for that crossing.

“That is about 350,000 euros (£294,170) on that boat.”

“So, at a 50 percent interception rate, which is roughly what we’re seeing at the moment, criminals are always going to take that chance because even half of 350,000 euros is a lot of money.”

A record 23,000 people have made the crossing from France so far in 2021.

The figure is almost triple the total from 2020 when 8,404 made the treacherous journey, itself a record.

Despite the high numbers, the Government says 19,000 crossings have been prevented in 2021.

Home Office minister Tom Pursglove told the committee close work between the UK and France is preventing even more people from attempting the perilous route while cracking down on people smuggling.

“The UK-France joint-intelligence cell, which was founded in July 2020, we’ve seen 400 facilitators arrested as a result of that activity, up to October 18,” he said.

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“There is very comprehensive collaboration going on, on both sides of the Channel, to try and bring these individuals to justice.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel held a virtual meeting on Monday night with her French counterpart Gérald Darmanin to discuss the Channel crisis.

In a joint statement afterwards, they said they were determined “to prevent 100 percent of crossings” over the Channel.

The statement said: “Both the Home Secretary and Interior Minister agreed to strengthen operational cooperation further.

“More must be done to stop the dangerous crossings.

“They agreed to accelerate the delivery of the commitments made in the joint agreement of July 2021 to deliver on their joint determination to prevent 100 percent of crossings and make this deadly route unviable.

“It was agreed that the joint technical working group will meet imminently with a view to permitting the use of new technology as rapidly as possible.

“The two ministers also committed to reinforcing intelligence sharing and police cooperation.”

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