Britain must arrest “Mafia bosses” of human trafficking, says a French official.
UK authorities should go to greater lengths to arrest London-based trafficking network leaders, a French leader said.
Boris Johnson has asked France to allow joint patrols along the French coast to crack down on boat crossings following the tragedy in which a dinghy capsized in the canal and killed 27 people.
But French politicians have pointed their fingers at British officials for failing to fight the “mafia bosses” behind the people-smuggling operations – suggesting that the tax authorities could do more.
Franck Dhersin, Vice-President for Transport of the northern region of Hauts-de-France, told the French television broadcaster BFMTV: “What are we doing in France? We’re arresting the smugglers.
“There is only one way to fight them – we have to stop the organizations, you have to arrest the Mafia chiefs. And the Mafia bosses live in London. “
He added: “You live peacefully in London, in beautiful villas, earn hundreds of millions of euros every year and invest that money in the city. And so it is very easy for the tax authorities to find them. “
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the loss of 27 lives was an “absolute tragedy” and accused trafficking gangs who promised people the “Eldorado of England” for a high fee.
“It’s an international problem … We tell our Belgian, German and British friends to help us fight international traffickers,” Darmanin told the French radio station RTL.
Home Secretary Priti Patel will speak to Mr Darmanin Thursday morning after Mr Johnson spoke to President Emmanuel Macron on the phone Wednesday night.
Mr Johnson said it was clear that the French operations to stop migrant boats from abandoning were in spite of the UK’s support of 54 million.
Pierre-Henri Dumont, the Calais MP, said he did not believe that more patrols on the French border was the solution to the canal’s migrant crisis.
“I’m not sure if more police officers or more material on the French coast will help stop these crossings as we have to monitor 200 or 300 kilometers of coastline 24/7,” he told BBC Radio 4. today Program.
Immigration Secretary Conservative MP Kevin Foster rejected the idea that British officials could process asylum applications in France.
“I don’t think it would be effective because if we were in advance to actually get this type of center, you’d have to be dragged across the Mediterranean, where literally thousands of people have lost their lives,” said the minister LBC.
Zoe Gardner of the Joint Council of Welfare for Immigrants told the BBC breakfast that the French were “insufficiently patrolling their own borders” – and pointed to a photo that appeared to show a French patrol vehicle allowing migrants to launch an inflatable boat.
“It is absolutely horrific, these pictures of the French police standing by while children get on one of these unsafe ships shock me,” she said.