People smugglers offering cut-price 'Christmas deal' to ferry migrants across the Channel
Kurdish gangsters are thought to be offering the lowest price ever charged for entering the UK illegally by boat just days after a sinking dinghy led to four deaths and 39 survivors, including 12 children, being pulled from the freezing water.
Lucy Halliday of the Care4Calais charity told the Mirror that some migrants are paying as little as €500 (£435) to make the treacherous crossing.
She said: 'The smugglers are taking what they can to fill boats and the lower the price, the more they try to get on board. We know they’re overcrowded.'
One Afghan refugee has revealed that he nearly the dinghy which capsized but was stopped by Kurdish smugglers because it was too overcrowded.
The 27-year-old, who claims to have been an army doctor in his homeland, said he and dozens of others made a ten-hour journey by foot to get to a remote beach to make the crossing.
'I feel lucky I was not on the boat. But I’ll try again,' he said. 'I cannot go back to Afghanistan because of the Taliban, I will try to work as a doctor in England.'
The Border Force said they also rescued a further 50 people, five of whom had ended up in the water, after their boat started to sink on the same night.
More than 45,000 migrants have made the perilous journey across the English Channel so far this year - compared to 28,526 in 2021.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced more funding for the NCA - Britain's version of the FBI - to tackle organised immigration crime in Europe.