LONDON — The authorities in Britain have arrested a Turkish truck driver on suspicion of trying to smuggle individuals to France from England after discovering 16 individuals within the trailer of his automobile.

The 36-year-old driver, who was not recognized, was stopped on Sunday at a junction on the M25 freeway southwest of London, the Nationwide Crime Company said in a statement. The individuals who have been found, together with Algerian, Moroccan and Pakistani residents, have been additionally arrested on suspicion of immigration offenses.

Though there have been no deaths, the case had echoes of a deadly episode of smuggling from 2019, when 39 individuals from Vietnam died in a refrigerated tractor-trailer in southeastern England. The people-smuggling commerce is a big and harmful market, with individuals fleeing battle and poverty throughout Africa and Asia forced to pay thousands of dollars to smugglers in return for shaky guarantees of transport throughout borders to Western Europe.

Within the Nationwide Crime Company assertion, Chris Hill, a department operations supervisor, stated, “Individuals-smuggling networks transfer migrants in each instructions throughout the border, threatening the safety of each the U.Ok. and our European neighbors, but additionally placing lives in danger.”

The English Channel, which separates France and Britain, is among the many busiest delivery areas on this planet and a vital route for smugglers shifting migrants round Europe. In November, Britain and France agreed to double the number of officers patrolling a 93-mile stretch of the French coast that the international locations stated was repeatedly utilized by smugglers.

The United Nations’ refugee company has pressed the nationwide authorities to fight the smuggling rings however has additionally expressed concern at proposals to intercept boats within the English Channel, noting that deploying vessels to “block small, flimsy dinghies could end in dangerous and deadly incidents.”

Whereas rising numbers of individuals tried to cross the English Channel illegally by boat final summer time, the U.N. agency noted in a briefing in August that “the numbers stay low and manageable,” including that many took on the dangerous journeys to flee conflict and persecution. “Saving lives ought to be the primary precedence — each on land and at sea,” the company stated.

This month, Britain and France stated that they had cooperated in the dismantling of a gang suspected of shopping for secondhand boats that have been deflated after which buried on French seashores for later use in smuggling individuals throughout the English Channel. Every boat may carry 10 to fifteen migrants, who can be charged 2,500 to three,000 euros, or $3,000 to $3,600, apiece for the journey, the Nationwide Crime Company stated.

The British immigration authorities made 418 arrests and secured 203 convictions in 2019, the Home Office said, with about half of these convicted discovered responsible of people-smuggling offenses.

Chris Philp, the British minister for immigration compliance, stated, “These harmful crossings are facilitated by critical organized criminals exploiting individuals and cashing in on human distress.”

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