A former Metropolitan Police officer has warned that traffickers helping migrants cross the Channel will “continue to profit” as the situation in the Middle East continues to be unstable.
Chris Hobbs told Mike Graham on the talkRADIO breakfast show that, following Donald Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria, the knock-on effect in the area could see more migrants make the dangerous journey.
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“As the situation deteriorates in Iran, and the situation in Turkey with the Kurd, and America pulling out, it’s something that’s going to profit the traffickers even more as people escape whatever consequences these policies have for them,” Mr Hobbs said.
Mr Trump withdrew the troops because he felt the Islamic State had been sufficiently defeated in the area.
While the terror group no longer has a stronghold in major cities, they do still have a presence in more rural areas.
'Traffickers are succeeding'
On Christmas Day, 40 migrants were rescued from five boats in the English Channel, with some reportedly not wearing life jackets. The Home Office said they were from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, and some are now being assessed by immigration authorities.
Mr Hobbs said that, although the boats were intercepted by authorities, traffickers could regard this as a success, because the migrants had reached the UK.
“The traffickers have achieved their aim because they’re then picked up and enter the asylum process,” he said.
“The traffickers, like any company, go on reputation, and if their reputation is ultimately that they’re getting people to the UK, then they’re succeeding.”
He added that, if Brexit were to have an effect on the processes at the UK’s borders, this could be an opportunity rather than a hindrance for people traffickers.
“If there’s chaos at the borders for Brexit, it’ll make it easier for the traffickers, not harder,” he said.