TikTok used by human trafficking gangs to advertise English Channel crossings for £5,500

Nigel Farage Mono
Jamie  Micklethwaite

By Jamie Micklethwaite

Published: 02/08/2022

- 19:01

Updated: 02/08/2022

- 23:23

A GB News investigation can reveal dozens of Albanian accounts boast on the social media platform about getting people from France to Britain

Human traffickers are advertising their services to take migrants across the English Channel by boat on TikTok – charging as much as £5,500.

An investigation by GB News can reveal dozens of Albanian accounts on the social media platform boast about successfully getting men, women and children from France to Britain.

One encourages asylum seekers to send them a message via WhatsApp with a UK contact number posted.

Another shows off the dinghies illegal immigrants squeeze onto as they negotiate the 21-mile journey.

Migrant gangs posting adverts on TikTok
Migrant gangs posting adverts on TikTok
GB News

The clips include dates of crossings and footage of people leaving France and them getting into boats.

And the migrants posed for selfies and flick peace signs at cameras.

Clips give a preview of the journey starting in Albania then onto Brussels in Belgium, through France, including Paris, Lille and Durkerque before posting a map of the coast, saying “water” with a laughing emoji face.

Multiple videos go on to broadcast just how cramped the small boats can get with the migrants wearing life jackets.

Border Force are seen in the background about to intercept the vessels.

It then goes on to reveal snaps of the UK including famous monuments Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament to prove the successful journey.

One caption from a clip posted last month, translated from Albanian to English, says: “Today we passed three rafts of 60 people from Dunkerque, tomorrow the other way.

“£5,500 the way - we are the strongest group in France.”

One similar post said: “We have a route every day until the end of July. We are the best group in France to pass people. Price is £5,000, DM for the next route.”

Another said: “Only for £4,000, what are you waiting for? Leave today, tomorrow, contact in DM.

“Direct line every day France - England at four o'clock.”

Gangs are boasting about getting people in to the UK
Gangs are boasting about getting people in to the UK
GB News

One of the videos claimed to get you from Brussels to the UK for £4,550 in “just one day”.

And a recent post offered a “summer sale” to customers for a cut price of £3,500.

A source who discovered some of the videos told GB News: “I’m just a normal member of the public and got myself down a rabbit hole on TikTok where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“There’s videos of people putting how to contact them and when they’re going with their contact details. Even ones of people videoing themselves coming over and you can see Border Force in the background.

“It's unbelievable that it’s all just there and easy enough to find once you start looking.

“If it’s that easy for me then why aren’t the authorities doing something about it.”

The TikTok clips come as a 696 people crossed the Channel in small boats on Monday, the highest number on a single day so far this year.

It means more than 17,000 made the trip this year meaning it is likely 2021’s total of 28,526 is expected to be surpassed.

Last year the Daily Mail reported Albanian criminals were charging up to £20,000 to smuggle migrants to the UK on TikTok

The videos go against the rules on the social media platform’s terms which stipulates that user’s “must not post, live stream or otherwise distribute any content on the platform which constitutes, encourages or provides instruction for a criminal offence, or dangerous activities that may lead to serious injury or death or self-harm”.

Earlier this year, harsher rules for online content of this nature are included in the Online Safety Bill which classes people smuggling as an extra priority illegal offence.

The Bill wants to ensure companies are more proactive when it comes to content and prevent people ‘being exposed in the first place’.

It means that Ofcom can also take faster action against companies that fail to remove illegal content.

A spokesman for TikTok said: “Our policies state that to prevent users from engaging in life-threatening activities or being exploited by others, content depicting, promoting, coordinating or facilitating human smuggling is not allowed on TikTok.

“I am currently reviewing the content with the relevant language support, the accounts flagged are likely to be banned as per policy mentioned above.”

TikTok has banned four of the accounts flagged to them by GB News.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Posts used by people smugglers to promote lethal crossings are totally unacceptable and requires social media companies to engage in dialogue to prevent their platforms being exploited.

"The Government is tackling this online disinformation, recently launching our own social media campaign to warn people of the risks of these deadly journeys and expose the lies sold to vulnerable people by inhumane smugglers.”

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