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They are being moved for the purpose of exploitation.The opportunities to cross the border have become more limited, and there’s been an increase in prices – so smugglers by default are becoming traffickers. “They’ll say: ‘I’ll get you across and you don’t have to pay now but I do have a friend that you could work for in the UK’.Hundreds of lone teenagers who don’t have the means to pay are meanwhile increasingly prone to exploitation at the hands of these gangs, who are promising them a free crossing in return for “work” upon arrival in the UK.The refugees’ desperation is exacerbated by the looming winter coupled with the dearth of any form of state or official aid.When asked what the UK was doing to prevent child trafficking from northern France to the UK, a Home Office spokesman said: “We provided funding to [French organisation] France Terre d’Asile to help identify and protect victims of trafficking in the Calais camp, which was cleared in autumn 2016.
Rishal, 28 and one of the eldest of around 20 women and girls in the area, said her family has paid £10,000 to smugglers so far for her crossing from Eritrea to join her younger brother in Cardiff.
In the shadow of what was once the notorious Calais Jungle thousands of refugees have become living targets for smugglers and human traffickers as their plight becomes increasingly perilous.
A year on from the demolition of the shantytown, dozens of displaced families are sleeping rough in woodland in the region waiting for their chance to be smuggled into Britain by criminals – often after paying extortionate amounts to guarantee their passage across the Channel.
Children are becoming more desperate and susceptible.
We’ve had many young people who we’ve believed are in the UK but who we now can’t find.” The Refugee Youth Service refers any young person they suspect to have crossed to the Britain to a UK-based anti-trafficking agency.