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Albanian people-smuggling gangs have reportedly been using the Chinese social media app TikTok to advertise illegal boat crossings of the English Channel right in front of the British government.
A GB News investigation found that human trafficking gangs offer to take illegal immigrants from France across the English Channel in small rubber boats by advertising on TikTok, a short video social media platform owned by China.
The investigation found that people smugglers charge up to £5,500 to take one person across the Channel. However, other videos offer a "summer sale" for only £3,500. Some migrants from richer countries, like Iran, may be able to pay the smuggling gangs up front. However, many migrants will agree to work in Britain in slave-like conditions to pay off the smuggling gangs.
"Until the end of July, we have a route every day. We are the best people-passing group in France. "The price for the next route is £5,000, DM," one video said.
"Only £4,000, what are you waiting for? Leave today or tomorrow, and get in touch in DM. "Direct line from France to England at 4 p.m. every day," said another ad.
The TikTok posts were first found by a GB News viewer, who told the station, "I'm just a regular person who fell down a rabbit hole on TikTok and couldn't believe what I was seeing... If it's that easy for me, why aren't the authorities doing something about it?"
The investigation was started after 696 illegal immigrants crossed the Channel on Monday, which was the most in one day this year. Since the most recent ones, more than 17,000 people have made it to British shores this year.
Nigel Farage, the host of GB News and a leader of Brexit, said that he didn't understand why the videos were found by a "ordinary" viewer instead of the Border Force, the Home Office, or the police.
"Why can't they find this? If you say something on one of the social media sites that people don't like, you'll be suspended or maybe even banned for good. We have 1,000 police... monitoring what they call "hate speech," which usually just means having an opinion. "Then how come criminal gangs can use TikTok without being stopped?" he asked.
Mr. Farage also brought up the issue of security, saying that Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS have used the Mediterranean to send their agents into Europe, which led to the attacks in Paris.
"I'm sure there are a lot of nice people who want to leave Iran or wherever, but that's not the point. We need to be in charge of this, and from what I can tell, neither of the two people running to replace Boris Johnson, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak or Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, will do that," he said.
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration said last month that the "inexcusably bad" way illegal immigrants are treated is a threat to national security. The report found that border officials often let migrants into the country without making sure they had the right paperwork, fingerprints, or even a correct name. This meant that hundreds of people were able to leave their tax-funded housing and disappear into the country.