Traffickers Offering £300 Cut-Rate Christmas Prices for Illegal Migrants to Cross Channel

AT SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 07: Migrants packed tightly onto a small inflatable boat attempt to cross the English Channel near the Dover Strait, the world's busiest shipping lane, on September 07, 2020 off the coast of Dover, England. Last Wednesday, more than 400 migrants made the journey from …
Luke Dray/Getty Images

People-smuggling gangs in France are offering cut-rate Christmas prices to facilitate illegal boat migrants making the journey across the English Channel for as little as £300.

Intelligence sources said that the average cost per trip is between £500 and £1,000, with some human trafficking gangs offering passage to Britain for as low as £300, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The drop in prices — which were as high as £2,700 in September — comes ahead of the Christmas holiday season when border patrols are typically scaled-down, with many officers taking time off.

Last Christmas and Boxing Day saw records for single-day crossings of the English Channel, prompting Britain to step up patrols this year, in theory to prevent another surge of illegal boat migration — although Border Force does not actually turn back any of the boats in intercepts, instead collecting migrants and bringing them the rest of the way to England.

The people-smuggling gangs are reportedly slashing prices amidst increased enforcement by the French authorities after Home Secretary Priti Patel agreed to a further payoff of £28 million to France to induce them to stop illegal aliens using their beaches as a staging ground.

Since 2014, British taxpayers have shipped some £192 million to France to try and stem the tide of illegal immigration, but the migrant waves have only continued to grow.

Brexit is also seen as a motivating factor for the drop in prices, as the trafficking networks are reportedly trying to cash in on fears amongst illegal migrants that the end of the Brexit transition period will lessen their ability to claim asylum in the country in the new year.

A Home Office source said: “These vile criminals will stop at nothing to illegally smuggle people into the UK. The latest wheeze is cut-throat prices to exploit vulnerable women and children, enticing them to put lives on the line in a deadly crossing to the UK.

“Our security services are doing everything they can to go after the criminals behind this human trade,” the source claimed.

The Home Office is reportedly set to deploy a ‘stealth squad’ of speedboats and jet skis in the English Channel in order to monitor further migrant crossings.

Clandestine Channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney, said: “This new technology could help in our mission to make these crossing unviable by gathering evidence for prosecutions, preventing uncontrolled landings and supporting operations to save lives at sea.”

So far this year nearly 9,000 illegal migrants have been recorded to have reached British shores by boat alone, over four times the number for 2019.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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