“We must come down hard on those facilitating the illegal and awful practices of human trafficking,” Hastings MP Sally-Ann Hart said today.
Mrs Hart was welcoming the latest work being done to tackle illegal immigration that includes a proposed Franco-British Operational Research Unit to combat migrant smuggling, the result of weekend meetings between Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
Mrs Hart says: “I am really pleased to see this cooperation between the United Kingdom and France taking a further step forward to tackle the illegal practices of the criminal gangs behind the illegal crossings that are taking place on the English Channel. We know all too well that these crossings are continuing to take place and increasing, as we have seen at Pett Level beach and other places along the South Coast.”
The new unit will collate, centralise and analyse operational intelligence to prevent crossings from taking place and to dismantle the gangs behind them. It will be staffed by French and UK officers and will feed into the already established teams working tirelessly to end the illegally- facilitated crossings.
Both the Home Secretary and M Darmanin stressed that migrants should not risk their lives to reach the UK, given France is a safe country with a well-run asylum system.
“I have always defended the cases of genuine asylum seekers and refugees and have gone further to say we should bolster the rights of refugees. However, we must come down hard on those facilitating the illegal and awful practices of human trafficking. These criminal gangs prey on the most vulnerable and we cannot allow this to continue. The news over the weekend of bilateral cooperation is a welcome step in our fight against illegal immigration,” says Mrs Hart.