Criminal Gangs Training Migrants to Become Criminals in Exchange for Passage into UK
LONDON – Criminal gangs involved in trafficking people across the English Channel into the UK are reportedly training migrants who cannot afford the full cost of the journey to become criminals within their extensive networks. French sources have revealed that some migrants are being coerced into working for the gangs, engaging in activities such as violence-driven trafficking, acting as lookouts, providing security, and working as debt collectors.
The alarming revelation comes after six Afghan migrants tragically drowned in August when their boat capsized in the English Channel. Following the incident, four men were arrested, two Iraqis, and two Sudanese, all of whom had been recruited by the gang to aid in facilitating the journey in exchange for their own passage at a later date. The Sudanese men are alleged to have used violence against other migrants and knowingly launched the unsafe boat.
The Paris prosecutor’s office stated that the two Sudanese men, aged 17 and 26, are suspected of participating in transporting passengers under dangerous conditions in return for a reduced fare on their own passage.
According to sources, the people smugglers are not only recruiting migrants but also providing training to work for them. These individuals are then coerced into using force and violence to compel other migrants to cross the Channel. They are armed and are involved in various tasks for the gang, including chasing debts and settling scores. Additionally, they provide protection for senior smugglers and act as lookouts. The migrants are offered a cheaper trip to Britain in return for their services. Once in the UK, they feel indebted to the gang and are put to work in car washes, factories, and cannabis farms.
The same source emphasized the ruthless nature of these criminals, stating that they stop at nothing to secure a cheaper crossing. They continue their activities upon arrival in Britain, engaging in drug dealing, debt collection, and other illicit activities. The gangs find this arrangement less risky as the migrants are seen merely as commodities.
Last week, two migrants, one from Iraq and the other Sudanese, were sentenced to 14 and 12 months, respectively, for their involvement in an attack on French gendarmes attempting to stop a boat crossing near Calais. The assault, which occurred on June 16, left three French officers injured.
These reports shed light on the dark reality of criminal networks involved in human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable migrants seeking a better life in the UK. It highlights the need for increased cooperation between France and the UK to dismantle these criminal operations and protect the safety and well-being of migrants.
More detail via Arab News here… ( Image via Arab News )