Picture emerges of flimsy boat used after 27 people die in Channel tragedy

Politics

The French interior minister said migrants are “often attracted” to the UK’s job market after 27 people died while attempting to cross the Channel.

Gerard Darmanin said that Britain, Belgium and Germany could do more to help France tackle illegal migrants and human trafficking issues.

In an interview with French radio station RTL he also said the sinking of a migrant boat was an “absolute tragedy”.

Pregnant woman among the dead amid fears smugglers will continue trafficking in the coming weeks – live updates

Mr Darmanin did not have further information about the circumstances of the boat’s capsizing, or the victims’ nationalities, but said the two survivors were Somali and Iraqi and had been treated for severe hypothermia.

He also said a fifth suspected people trafficker was arrested overnight and the boat used to cross the Channel was purchased in Germany and had a German vehicle registration.

“Those responsible for the tragedy which took place yesterday in the Channel are the smugglers, who for a few thousand euros promise Eldorado in England. The smugglers are criminals, this tragedy reminds us, painfully,” he said.

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Five women and a girl were among the victims after their boat capsized in the water. One of the dead women was later reported to have been pregnant.

Two people were rescued and four people-smugglers have been arrested, Mr Darmanin has said.

The boat the which sank was very flimsy, likening it to “a pool you blow up in your garden”, he added.

Franck Dhersin, the vice president of transport for the northern Hauts-de-France region, told French TV station BFMTV that heads of human trafficking networks who live comfortable lives in the UK must be arrested.

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“In France what do we do? We arrest the smugglers…To fight them, there’s only one way – we need to stop the organisations, you need to arrest the mafia chiefs,” he said.

“And the mafia chiefs live in London… They live in London peacefully, in beautiful villas, they earn hundreds of millions of euros every year, and they reinvest that money in the City.

“And so it’s very easy for the tax authorities to find them”.

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