People Smugglers Using China’s TikTok to Advertise £5,500 Channel Crossings

Albanian people smuggling gangs have reportedly been using the Chinese social media platform TikTok to advertise illegal boat crossings of the English Channel under the nose of the British government.

An investigation from GB News found that human trafficking gangs are advertising to illegal migrants on the TikTok, the Chinese owned short video social media platform, offers to take them across the English Channel from France in small rubber boats.

According to the investigation, the people smugglers are charging up to £5,500 to take one person across the Channel, however, other videos offer a “summer sale” of £3,500. While some migrants from wealthier countries, such as Iran, are more likely to be able to pay up front, many migrants will agree to work in slave like conditions in Britain to pay off the smuggling gangs.

“We have a route every day until the end of July. We are the best group in France to pass people. Price is £5,000, DM for the next route,” one video said.

“Only for £4,000, what are you waiting for? Leave today, tomorrow, contact in DM. Direct line every day France – England at four o’clock,” another advertised.

The TikTok posts were initially uncovered by a GB News viewer, who told the broadcaster:  “I’m just a normal member of the public and got myself down a rabbit hole on TikTok where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… If it’s that easy for me then why aren’t the authorities doing something about it.”

The investigation follows another 696 illegals crossing the Channel on Monday, the highest daily figure of the year. The latest landings mean that over 17,000 have successfully reached British shores so far this year.

Commenting on the findings, GB News host and Brexit leader Nigel Farage questioned why it was that the videos were uncovered by an “ordinary” viewer rather than the Border Force, Home Office, or police.

“How is it they can’t find this? If any of you make a comment on any of the social media platforms that people don’t approve of, you’ll be suspended or perhaps even banned permanently.  We’ve got a thousand police… monitoring what they call hate speech — which it means actually in most cases having an opinion —  So how is it that criminal gangs can use TikTok and not get stopped?” he questioned.

Mr Farage also raised the issue of security, noting that Islamist terrorist organisations such as ISIS have used “the Mediterranean to get their operatives into Europe and look what happened in Paris with those attacks.”

“I’m sure there are plenty of lovely people, desperate to get out of Iran or whatever it is, but that’s not the point. We need to be in control of this and frankly, from what I can see, the next prime minister isn’t going to do it,” he said of the two candidates vying to replace Boris Johnson, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Last month, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration found that the “inexcusably awful” handling of illegal migrants represents a security threat to the nation. The report found that border officials frequently allowed migrants into the country without being documented, fingerprinted, or even collecting an accurate name, allowing hundreds to abscond from their tax-payer-funded accommodation and disappear into the country.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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