Ruthless people smugglers are charging migrants up to £2,800 each to cross the Channel

Revealed: Ruthless people smugglers are charging migrants up to £2,800 each to cross the Channel amid boat shortage – after 800 made dangerous journey yesterday

  • People smuggler said he had to charge the sum ‘otherwise I won’t make a profit’ 
  • Yesterday’s arrivals bring the total so far this year to 36,463 people in 899 boats 
  • More than 75,000 people have now come to the UK in boats over last four years

Migrants are paying people smugglers up to £2,800 per person to reach the UK amid a shortage of boats, according to new reports today. 

Even so, the issues do not seem to be holding back the tide of crossings, with another 800 migrants making the perilous journey across the English Channel yesterday. 

The latest arrivals bring the total so far this year to 36,463 people in 899 boats – an average of 41 people per vessel.

It also means more than 75,000 migrants have arrived in Britain after crossing the Channel since current records began four years ago.  

Another 800 migrants making the perilous journey across the English Channel yesterday (pictured is a smuggler's boat near Gravelines in northern France)

Another 800 migrants making the perilous journey across the English Channel yesterday (pictured is a smuggler’s boat near Gravelines in northern France) 

Despite the record high number of crossings, human trafficking gangs in France claim they are facing a growing shortage of inflatable vessels to make the crossings, a BBC investigation revealed.

Posing as a migrant with a pregnant wife and two year-old daughter, an undercover reporter was told it would cost £2,800 per person to reach the UK. The people smuggler said: ‘Otherwise I won’t make any profit. I can’t do less.’

Another trafficker warned that prices would soon be increasing on account of a lack of inflatable dinghies and other small craft.

He said: ‘There are not enough boats. Some problem in Germany. We get them from Turkey and bring them via Germany. People smuggling more lucrative than drugs.’

More than 100 lone child migrants as young as 11 have vanished from UK hotels in just over a year

More than 100 unaccompanied child migrants as young as 11 have gone missing after vanishing from British hotels over a 14-month period, new data reveals. 

The 116 children disappeared between July 2021 and August 22 after being temporarily housed in hotels by the Home Office

Charities fear some may have fallen victim to sexual abuse or could have been put to work illegally in cannabis farms or factories. 

The government began placing child migrants in hotels in July last year after local councils said they did not have enough capacity to house them in suitable accommodation. 

A total of 1,606 children who arrived between July 2021 and June 2022 were placed in hotels by the Home Office, according to official figures. 

Out of these 181 children went missing but 65 were later found, a Freedom of Information request by BBC Two’s Newsnight revealed. 

The Home Office has insisted it had ‘no alternative’ but to use hotels while long-term accommodation was found. 

But the charity ECPAT UK said the number of missing children was ‘shocking’ and demanded ministers immediately call a halt to the policy. 

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The BBC investigation also revealed that migrants in France have been using a free local bus service to get to beaches where people traffickers can help them reach the UK.

After using the public transport to get to Dunkirk, the asylum seekers were reportedly walked to sand dunes by members of smuggling gangs and told to hide until the boats were ready. 

Despite the challenges faced by smugglers, 856 people made the perilous journey across the 21-mile Dover Straits yesterday. The first arrivals were escorted into Dover, Kent on board a Border Force vessel around 9am.

They clutched blankets around their shoulders as they queued for the bus to take them for processing – after facing temperatures of 15°c and wind speeds of up to 18mph in the Channel.

Crossings continued throughout the day. This included at least two groups of asylum seekers who were brought ashore on the beach at Dungeness by an RNLI Lifeboat in the early afternoon.

Around 70 people – including women and children – landed on the pebble beach, where they were met by immigration officials. Among them was an elderly woman, who was seen being helped off the vessel.

The French coastguard also rescued 46 people who had got into difficulty in the Channel on Wednesday.

A coastal patrol boat was tasked with picking up 30 stranded people in Authie Bay, while a second maritime vessel intercepted 16 more people off the coast of Fort-Mahon.

The migrants were dropped off at the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer, where they were taken care of by the departmental fire and rescue service and the border police.

The latest arrivals bring the total for the year so far to 36,463 people in 899 boats – an average of 41 people per vessel. But one report today suggests smugglers are packing as many now as 53 into each boat. 

The busiest day this month came on Sunday, when 1,065 migrants reached British soil. 

This year’s figures have already surpassed the total for 2021 which saw 28,526 people cross the Channel by small boat, and 2020 when just 8,410 asylum seekers arrived in the UK.

Some 75,628 people have made the journey since 2018, according to an analysis of government data. 

Official Home Office figures show that between January 2018 and June 2022, 51,881 migrants were recorded as arriving in the UK. Since then 23,747 have been detected, according to provisional Ministry of Defence (MoD) data.       

The crossings continue as the Government faces another legal challenge against its plan to send migrants to Rwanda.

Charity Asylum Aid’s case is due to be heard by High Court judges on Thursday after similar challenges were made last month.

Deportation flights are on hold while the legal disputes are ongoing.

The court is expected to give its ruling on all the cases at the same time at a later date.

A migrant carries a child as he runs to board a smuggler's boat yesterday on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk

A migrant carries a child as he runs to board a smuggler’s boat yesterday on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk

The MoD said its data was taken from ‘live operational systems’ and was subject to change, ‘including reduction’.    

The Home Office said it would ‘use every tool’ at its disposal to deter illegal migration.

A spokesman said: ‘We will go further and faster to tackle those gaming the system, using every tool at our disposal to deter illegal migration, disrupt the business model of people smugglers and relocate to Rwanda, those with no right to be in the UK.

‘Despite the lies they have been sold by the people smugglers, migrants who travel through safe countries to illegally enter the UK will not be allowed to start a new life here.’

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