British traffickers who were smuggling migrants from France to the United Kingdom have allegedly threatened a French mayor with a gun, the BBC reports.
The mayor of Teteghem, Franck Dhersin, told the BBC that when he tried to visit the migrant camp in his village, smugglers barred him from entering the camp. They allegedly then showed him a gun and threatened to rape the reporter who was accompanying him.
Local police have advised the mayor not to try and return to the camp.
Dhersin said the traffickers were “very violent and just want to make money.” He also added that what he calls the “English mafia” has been present in the region for years but that with the renewed influx of migrants, they have gotten much more organised.
A migrant who spoke to the BBC described the traffickers as extremely violent and threatening. He said he had spent over $US18,000 travelling from Syria to France and an additional $US4,700 trying to cross the English Channel.
Dhersin said that cars with British licence plates were often spotted there, and the BBC reporters saw some while they were there.
Although migrants try to cross the channel in different ways in Dunkirk and in Calais, English smugglers are reporters working in both French towns.
The man who leads the officers policing migrants in Calais told the BBC that although he doesn’t have proof the traffickers are English, “We know perfectly there do exist links between the traffickers and the receivers in Great Britain, and with the traffickers who work in France.”
The situation in Calais has been escalating over the last few weeks, with thousands of migrants now camped near the Euro Tunnel hoping to pass into the UK. The ensuing chaos has led to tensions between France and the UK, with many in England saying that France is not doing enough to prevent the migrants from crossing over.
In other European countries, the situation is even worse, notably in Italy and Greece where clashes between police and the ever-increasing amount of migrants have been turning violent.
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