The German police have announced that, in collaboration with French and British law enforcers, they will crack down on smugglers who buy inflatable boats and outboard motors to ferry migrants across the English Channel.
German investigators say they have received information that these boats, along with life jackets bought in Germany, are used in the smuggling of people from France to Britain, Belga news agency reported on Sunday.
The three countries involved have thus set up a cooperation mechanism to monitor the traffic and break up the smuggling rings.
According to the French police, 90% of the boats and outboard motors used by the traffickers are bought in Germany then taken through Belgium. In France, an ID card and a telephone number are required when purchasing inflatable boats and outboard motors.
Despite efforts by French and British authorities to stem the flow of migrants across the English Channel, people continue to cross the waterway in small boats in increasing numbers, according to British media.
The Daily Mail reported on 19 January that nearly 1,000 migrants had arrived in Britain thus far this year via the waterway.
Last year, a record 28,381 persons crossed the English Channel in small boats, according to the British newspaper, which quoted UK officials as telling the country’s Immigration Minister that the number could be as high as 65,000 this year.