Half of modern slavery claims from Channel boat migrants were made by Albanians, data shows
- Government data showed over 51% of exploitation claims were from Albania
- The figure in 2021 for the same exploitation claims was only just over 11%
- Migration Watch UK obtained the figures under Freedom of Information laws
Albanian migrants made up more than half of modern slavery claims lodged by small-boat arrivals in the first half of last year, it has emerged.
Government data showed just over 51 per cent of Channel migrants who claimed they had been exploited were from the Balkan country. The figure was just over 11 per cent in 2021.
Migration Watch UK, which campaigns for tougher border controls, obtained the figures under Freedom of Information laws.
Chairman Alp Mehmet said: ‘What these remarkable data show is that Albanians and their traffickers have identified a huge loophole in our legislation and are exploiting it.’
Government data showed just over 51 per cent of Channel migrants who claimed they had been exploited were from the Balkan country. Pictured: File image of migrants of unknown origin
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled a five-point plan to tackle the Channel crisis last month.
He said the threshold for modern slavery claims will be raised ‘significantly’, requiring evidence to show exploitation rather than simply a ‘suspicion’.
However, full details of the Government’s proposals have yet to emerge.
The PM also vowed to deport ‘thousands’ of Albanians small boat arrivals within months.
The Albanian ambassador to Britain admitted last month DEC that migrants from his country are ‘pretending’ to victims of modern slavery.
Qirjako Qirko told MPs that many Albanians who cross the Channel by small boat are ‘just economic migrants’.
In November senior officials from ‘Britain’s FBI’ warned that Albanian criminals are committing ‘blatant manipulation’ of modern slavery laws.
The National Crime Agency said Albanian organised crime groups are bringing workers into Britain by small boat to work in the drugs trade, such as cannabis farms known as ‘grows’.
In some cases Albanians have been ‘coached’ how to exploit modern slavery laws if they are arrested, the agency said.
Lodging a modern slavery claim brings a halt to criminal investigations and Home Office deportation efforts while the case is investigated, usually leading to delay of a year or more.
The figures obtained by Migration Watch showed that across all nationalities there were 1,156 modern slavery claims by small boat arrivals in the first six months of last year, compared with 1,946 in the whole of 2021.
There were 591 claims lodged by Albanians from January to June last year. The figure for the whole of 2021 was 218.
The next largest nationality among small boat migrants who lodged modern slavery claims in the first half of last year was Eritrean, with 116.
They made up 10 per cent of applications, followed by Sudanese (just under eight per cent), Iranians and Vietnamese (both six per cent).
Separate figures showed that only 73 claims made in 2021 led to the applicant being considered a genuine victim of modern slavery, Migration Watch said.
In the first six months of last year the figure was just 38, although that figure may rise as officials complete further inquiries.
Albanian arrivals across the Channel accelerated from May to September last year.
Therefore, the total number of modern slavery claims made by Albanians for the whole of 2022 is likely to be far higher than the half-year figures.
Officials have said Albanian arrivals fell at the end of last year for ‘seasonal reasons’, but they warned that a new surge is expected in the spring.