Mi­grants post videos on how to stow away

Peo­ple traf­fick­ers ad­ver­tise ser­vices on so­cial media as Youtube posts show how to sur­vive re­frig­er­ated trucks

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Charles Hy­mas Home Af­fairs editor

Mi­grants are us­ing the in­ter­net to teach oth­ers how to en­ter the UK il­le­gally in re­frig­er­ated lor­ries like the one used in the Es­sex con­tainer tragedy, as po­lice chiefs de­mand a crack­down by so­cial media giants. Mi­grants are post­ing Youtube videos that in­clude a teenager in the back of a re­frig­er­ated lorry boast­ing he is just 40 min­utes from Eng­land. An­other video shows a mi­grant ly­ing face down on the top of a lorry in a freight park in an uniden­ti­fied Chan­nel port.

MI­GRANTS are us­ing so­cial media to teach peo­ple how to en­ter the UK il­le­gally in re­frig­er­ated lor­ries like the one used in the Es­sex con­tainer tragedy, as po­lice chiefs de­mand tech giants crack down on the posts.

The il­le­gal mi­grants are fla­grantly post­ing Youtube videos in­clud­ing a teenager in the back of a re­frig­er­ated lorry boast­ing that he is just 40 min­utes from Eng­land.

Talk­ing to cam­era, the shiv­er­ing youth says: “I thank God who has helped me but to all of you who think to make the same jour­ney to Eng­land, it’s very dif­fi­cult. We hope God will help us when we go to Eng­land, it is hard, this re­frig­er­a­tor.”

An­other video pub­lished in March on Youtube shows a mi­grant ly­ing face down on the top of a lorry in a freight park in an uniden­ti­fied Chan­nel port. A third shows three men laugh­ing and jok­ing un­der can­vas in a lorry as they make a night-time jour­ney into the UK.

Peo­ple smug­glers have also posted “ad­verts” on Face­book pro­mot­ing their abil­ity to get peo­ple into Europe with Tripad­vi­sor-style feed­back com­ments from “sat­is­fied” cus­tomers.

The dis­clo­sure fol­lows the deaths of 39 Viet­namese mi­grants who suf­fo­cated after be­ing trans­ported into the UK in a re­frig­er­ated lorry. Th­ese trucks are used be­cause they can evade de­tec­tion by ther­mal imag­ing equip­ment.

Tom Dow­dall, deputy di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Crime Agency (NCA), said: “There is an aw­ful lot more the tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies and in­ter­net providers like Face­book can and should be do­ing to pre­vent crim­i­nals and crime net­works from be­ing able to ad­ver­tise and com­mu­ni­cate their ac­tiv­i­ties, given the tech power and brain power that they have to re­solve and solve th­ese prob­lems.”

Steve Har­vey, a for­mer se­nior Europol officer, said it made a mock­ery of gov­ern­ment claims that or­gan­ised crime was “un­der­ground” and that law en­force­ment needed more investigat­ive tools.

“It is not un­der­ground, it is in your face,” he said. “Th­ese guys are ad­ver­tis­ing on so­cial media what they do. Traf­fick­ing mi­grants is traf­fick­ing a com­mod­ity. It is not dif­fi­cult to find. The prob­lem is that we are not proac­tive enough.

“Th­ese crim­i­nals are op­er­at­ing in a very com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment where the like­li­hood of in­ter­ven­tion, de­tec­tion, ar­rest, pros­e­cu­tion and con­vic­tion is rare, lim­ited and un­likely.”

The videos are pri­mar­ily by Al­ba­ni­ans, the big­gest traf­ficked for­eign na­tional group, fol­lowed by Viet­namese, Chinese, Nige­ri­ans, Ro­ma­ni­ans, Su­danese, Eritre­ans and In­di­ans.

The Face­book “ad­verts” headed “Road to Europe, Road to Life” in­clude im­ages of ships boast­ing: “It’s the best op­tion be­cause all its parts are made from iron with a thick­ness of 12mm. The boat en­gine is 800 horse­power and its speed 14mph while it’s empty.”

Posts claim­ing to be from mi­grants cross­ing the Mediter­ranean in­clude one say­ing they have been picked up by an “Ital­ian bat­tle­ship”, adding: “Faysal

and I are fine and safe. We are ar­riv­ing to­mor­row morning.” An­other, how­ever, com­plains: “There is no [phone] charger in the bat­tle­ship.”

Mr Dow­dall said: “So­cial media is re­ally im­por­tant to or­gan­ised crime net­works of­fer­ing their ser­vices to peo­ple across the Mediter­ranean, so of­fer­ing their ves­sels to peo­ple.

“They are high­light­ing how re­li­able and safe they are when they are any­thing but re­li­able and safe. It’s re­ally an im­por­tant part of the mar­ket­place that or­gan­ised crime net­works set up.

“Face­book is preva­lent but there are other in­ter­net ser­vice providers, plat­forms and so­cial media plat­forms that are used as well.”

An­other 39 mi­grants at­tempt­ing to cross the Chan­nel in four boats were in­ter­cepted yes­ter­day and brought ashore by Bor­der Force.

The mi­grants, all claim­ing to be Ira­nian, were handed over to im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties at Dover.

‘There is an aw­ful lot more tech com­pa­nies can do to pre­vent crim­i­nals from ad­ver­tis­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties’

A bor­der of­fi­cial leads away a mi­grant who came ashore at Dun­geness, Kent, yes­ter­day. Left, a man is filmed trav­el­ling in­side a sealed con­tainer to en­ter the UK il­le­gally

A mi­grant hides face down on a lorry

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