A record number of migrants crossed the canal from France to the UK last year, the report said

A record number of more than 28,000 migrants crossed the canal from France to Britain in small boats last year, the PA news agency reported on Tuesday, based on its analysis of government data.

When people smugglers took advantage of the demand and charged thousands of pounds for trips across the lively shipping lane in thin boats, at least 28,395 people reached the UK – more than tripled the figure by 2020.

The peak came in November, during which at least 6,869 people reached Britain, spurred by favorable weather conditions.

On 11 November, a record 1,185 British coasts were reached in a single day.

The higher numbers were partly due to the use of larger boats, with an average of about 28 people and sometimes as many as 50 people.

Such crossings ended tragically for many, with at least 27 migrants drowning outside France on November 24 during an attempted crossing in a boat that was likened by French officials to an inflatable children’s pool.

The 27 victims were mostly men but also seven women, a 16-year-old and a seven-year-old child.

They were mostly Iraqi Kurds but also included an Iranian Kurd, Afghans, Ethiopians, a Somali and an Egyptian.

The large number of migrants arriving in Britain from the European mainland has become a political headache for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The influx of migrants has also worsened Britain’s relations with France, leading to inappropriate debt even when both sides try to disrupt human trafficking networks.

The British Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill is currently before Parliament, promising tougher measures against human traffickers and, controversially, migrants themselves.

If the bill is approved, it will, in contrast to rights groups, allow the return of asylum seekers who have passed through so-called “safe third countries”.


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