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Smugglers cost millions of dollars per kilometer

curry – Prices for crossing the English Channel vary from smuggler network to € 3,000-7,000.

Prices often include very short-term tent rentals in the windy dunes of northern France and dishes cooked in the fire that splatters in the rain for more than half a month in November in the Calais region. increase. It may, but not always, contain fuel for life jackets and outboard motors.

And the people who collect that money-up to € 300,000 ($ 432,000) per boat crossing a narrow waterway-are not the people arrested for regular raids along the coastline. They are what the French police call “small hands”.

Currently, French authorities want to move the command line up. A French judicial investigation into the sinking of Wednesday, which killed 27 people, was handed over to a Paris-based prosecutor who specializes in organized crime.

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To cross the narrow 33km (20 miles) of the waterway, a rubber dinghy must navigate the frigid waters and pass through a cargo ship. As of November 17, 23,000 people had successfully crossed, according to the UK Home Office. France intercepted about 19,000 people.

At least this year, smuggling organizations have won € 69 million at intersections, or € 2 million per kilometer.

“This has become so beneficial to criminals that it will take a tremendous amount of effort to change it,” UK Home Office Dan Omahoney told Congress on November 17. ..

Between Coronavirus and Brexit, “This is the golden age of smugglers and organized crime because of the turmoil in the country,” said Mimi, a Vietnamese immigrant expert who regularly spends time in camps in northern France.・ Vu said.

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“Think of it like a shipping and logistics company,” Vu said. The man who handles the last leg is basically just making the final delivery. She said they were interchangeable if they were arrested.

The European Border and Coast Guard, Frontex, said in a 2021 risk report that operational leaders “coordinate criminal businesses from a distance while exposing low-level criminals involved in transportation and logistics to law enforcement detection. “A manager who can do it,” he said. .. ”

The chain starts in your home country and is usually arranged on social media at an agreed price. The fare tends to shift in the middle of the journey, but she said she would be most willing to pay extra as the destination approaches. At that very moment, logistics becomes more complex.

Until a few years before the French and British authorities blocked the area around the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, it was relatively rare for the sea to cross the Channel. The death of 39 Vietnamese migrants behind the container truck may also have contributed to the new resistance to using the route.

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However, the first attempt was disorganized using small inflatables and kayaks purchased from a local Decathlon sports store.

Nando Sigona, a professor of international migration and displacement at the University of Birmingham, said: “But when it started to look like it was working for a lot of people, we could see bigger players getting involved.”

Police cracked down on local boat purchases and were pulled by dozens of cars and vans tagged with Germany and Belgium, and larger inflatables began to emerge, police said. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said a German-tagged car had been confiscated in connection with the investigation.

Police raids on the camp to remove tents and disrupt operations gave smugglers the opportunity to make yet more money, said Nikolai Posner of aid group Utopia 56. It is usually cooked over an open flame.

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“There is one solution to prevent all of this: death, smugglers, camps. Build a humane corridor,” Posner said. He said asylum application should be easier on both sides of the channel.

According to the Interior Ministry, the number of exiles from the UK has dropped to just five this year, partly due to the effects of Brexit and the coronavirus. People intercepted by sea and land by British border forces eventually reach immigration centers, but usually contact smuggling networks and work in the black market, Vu said.

It was a dissatisfaction with France, and the Minister of Interior said British employers seemed willing to hire under the table and offered yet another financial incentive.

“If they are in Calais, it is going to the UK and only a network of these smugglers can guarantee their passage,” said Ludwig Hochart, a police officer in the Calais-based alliance. Said. “The motive for going to England is stronger than the danger of waiting.”

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On Sunday, officials from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the EU will meet to find a solution. However, there is one notable absence as France and the United Kingdom have fierce conflicts on immigration, fishing and how to rebuild post-Brexit partnerships. It’s a British delegation.

For Vu, it’s an opportunity missed. “This is a cross-border crime. It spans many borders, and it’s not just one country that solves it.”

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Hinant reported from Paris. Frank Jordan contributed from Berlin.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Smugglers cost millions of dollars per kilometer

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