Albanian smuggling adverts on TikTok discovered as UK reports record number of illegal crossings this year

A British Border Force patrol boat intercepts a rib with people thought to be migrants off the the coast at Dungeness, England, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
By Thomas Brooke
9 Min Read

The UK Ministry of Defence reported the highest number of daily illegal crossings so far this year on Monday as 696 people crossed the English Channel in small boats to reach Britain.

Calmer sailing conditions and warmer weather enticed groups of migrants to brave the trip from the north of France, both over the weekend and into Monday, with the BBC reporting that a further 460 people arrived on British soil on Saturday.

The total for this year now stands at more than 17,000 people who have navigated busy shipping lanes from France to make it to Britain in 2022. By comparison, a record figure of 28,526 people arrived illegally via the English Channel in 2021, up considerably from 8,404 in 2020. Seemingly undeterred, there is every chance that last year’s record will be surpassed this year, weather permitting.

Conservative voters want a crackdown on immigration

A recent Deltapoll survey, commissioned by the Migration Watch UK campaign group, revealed that 6 in 10 voters in the United Kingdom want immigration reduced. Further to that, the polling showed that 8 in 10 voters of the governing Conservative party — which currently enjoys an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons — want the government to more effectively tackle the issue of immigration. It is in fact, according to the data, the second most important issue for Tory voters after the economy.

And yet, despite the seemingly urgent need to address the ongoing activity on England’s southern coast, there is radio silence from both Conservative leadership contenders, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and the current Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, on the issue. Indeed, despite various reports from news outlets on the topic over the past few days, neither candidate has posted a comment regarding it on their social media accounts, which are otherwise flooded with a flurry of back-patting and scores of endorsements from their parliamentary colleagues backing them for the top job.

For years, the governing Conservative party had the get-out clause of Britain’s EU membership to use when responding to voters’ concerns about immigration, citing the freedom of movement principle as the primary reason why immigration had soared in Britain over the past two decades. However, Britain was supposed to have “taken back control” of its borders, to coin a phrase from the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum, and yet the governing party has remained incapable of cracking down on illegal immigration; in fact, it has increased significantly in recent years. The rhetoric spouted by the current Home Secretary Priti Patel and the outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not been aligned with the reality of the crisis now unfolding in Dover.

What has the government done to address the issue?

The government announced earlier this year its intention to deport all those who enter the U.K. illegally to asylum centers in Rwanda for processing, a policy that caused uproar among much of Britain’s commentariat and opposition politicians. And yet, despite the tough talk at the despatch box in Westminster, there has to date not been a single asylum seeker who has boarded a departure flight to the African nation after a string of last-minute legal challenges from left-wing immigration lawyers and human rights groups hampered the government’s plans.

The need to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in order to enforce government policy was not lost on early contenders for the Conservative party leadership who unfortunately did not receive the parliamentary support required to make it to the run-off with the membership.

Suella Braverman, the Attorney General for England and Wales who was vying to become Boris Johnson’s successor, claimed last month that the only way to solve the U.K.’s immigration problem and ensure Brexit is properly delivered was to leave the ECHR, claiming the foreign court that presides over the legislation is “interventionist” and “politicized.”

“I’m afraid the only solution to this problem, if we want to be honest with the British people on delivering Brexit and taking back control of our borders, is that we need to leave the European Convention on Human Rights,” Braverman told reporters.

Bookies-favorite for Number 10, Liz Truss, has merely said she would be “prepared to withdraw” from the convention, allowing sufficient ambiguity to later backtrack.

Albanian smuggling gangs are advertising their services on TikTok

On Tuesday, a GB News exclusive investigation revealed that Albanian smuggling gangs have been promoting their services to prospective economic migrants wanting to head to Britain on social media giant, TikTok.

Brexit campaigner and politician-turned-conservative commentator, Nigel Farage, reported on the story during his prime time evening slot on the fledgling news channel, and questioned how illegal activity was being allowed to be advertised so prominently on the social media platform.

The “shocking footage” shows a step-by-step video of Albanian gangs smuggling migrants into Britain.

“They go to Brussels by airplane,” Farage explains, before arriving in Dunkirk in northern France; the footage shows a number of small motor boats that are regularly seen being deployed by smuggling gangs to transport migrants across the waterway.

“Not a gendarme in sight!” Farage tells viewers as the amateur footage shows a boat departing the northern coast of France for Britain. “Quite why Priti Patel wants to send tens of millions of more pounds to them is quite utter beyond me,” Farage adds, in reference to a botched cooperation agreement between French and U.K. authorities, which saw the U.K. agree to finance more effective border security in France to the tune of £55 million.

An advert in the video told willing participants that the boats were ready for July 27, with a 100 percent guarantee they would arrive in the U.K., all for the price of £4,500.

Farage, the former UKIP and Brexit Party leader, explained that smugglers don’t even have to navigate the 21-mile journey from France to the U.K., indicating that only entry in British sovereign waters is enough to ensure they will not be sent back.

“It’s not 21 miles or so, all they’ve got to do is get to the U.K. 12-mile line,” Farage stated. “That’s the important thing. Once you get to the U.K. 12-mile line, something is going to happen.”

As the footage showed a group of migrants in the middle of the waterway being approached by a large vessel, Farage shouted: “There’s the taxi! The taxi has arrived otherwise known as U.K. Border Force. They crossed the 12-mile line, and they’re picked up, and they’ve arrived in London.”

Farage further reported on another Albanian advert posted on Tuesday on the social media platform, which advertised a “summer sale” on smuggling activities, enabling prospective economic migrants to use the smuggling gang’s services for the discounted price of £3,500.

“What will [Conservative leadership contenders] Truss or Sunak do about this?” Farage asked viewers.

“I’ll tell you what I think,” he adds. “Nothing.”

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