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Exposed: Unscrupulous Turkish Companies Exploiting UK’s Migrant Crisis

In Turkey, oversized and dangerous inflatable dinghies are being produced to order for the purpose of smuggling large numbers of illegal immigrants across the English Channel. Unscrupulous Turkish traders are taking advantage of the migrant crisis by advertising these unsafe boats for sale online. The Epoch Times recently conducted an investigation and discovered that a legitimate PVC business based in Istanbul is offering a custom-made service for smugglers who want to pack as many migrants as possible onto these dangerous vessels. For a price of 4,000 euros (£3,400), the company, primarily known for manufacturing windows and doors, will produce a 15-meter boat with a wooden floor and export it to France within seven days. The company showcases videos and pictures on Facebook of the production process for these large dinghies. In one social media advertisement, the company offers boats with various specifications, such as aluminum or wooden floors, inflatable decks, or no deck at all. The company also claims to provide all boat accessories, originating from Turkey, China, or Canada. The advertisement includes the company’s website address, email contact, and WhatsApp business number for further inquiries. A reporter from The Epoch Times posed as a smuggler wanting to purchase one of these dinghies with the intent to traffic migrants from France to the UK. Just minutes after reaching out to the company’s WhatsApp account, a sales agent responded. When asked about the maximum size of an inflatable boat the company could manufacture, the agent stated that they could produce dinghies up to 10 meters long, which could “safely” carry up to 20 people. However, when informed that a larger boat was required to accommodate around 50 people—the average number of migrants being squeezed onto boats for Channel crossings this year—the sales agent replied that a 15-meter boat with a wooden floor would be needed. The sales agent mentioned that specifications could be altered and that the cost for a boat of this size would amount to much more than 4,000 euros. According to the agent, the company has previously shipped similar boats to England, Libya, and Algeria. The company also offered to provide a foot pump for an additional cost of 40 euros (£34), which would inflate the dinghy in 30 minutes. When asked about the manufacturing time, the reporter was told that it would take seven days after payment was received and that the boat would arrive in France within three days. After providing an email address, the reporter received an “invoice” with payment instructions for the 4,000 euros. Shockingly, the company used an image of an inflatable boat filled with numerous migrants as part of the documentation for the dinghy order. The precise time and location where the photo was taken remain unknown. These revelations come amid the highest number of migrants arriving in small boats in the UK in a single day this year. On a recent Saturday, authorities intercepted 872 migrants who had arrived from France on just 15 boats—an average of 58 people per boat. The previous record for 2023 was set on August 10, when 756 people made the crossing. In a tragic incident last month, six migrants died when their boat, carrying over 60 people, sank in the Channel near the French coast. French and British coastguards managed to rescue 59 individuals, many of them Afghan nationals, at the time. Data shows a steady increase in the average number of illegal immigrants arriving per boat, rising from 28 per boat in 2021 to 41 in 2022. Figures from August alone reveal a record high of the number of migrants crossing the Channel per boat, with 5,369 individuals making the journey in 102 boats—an average of around 53 migrants per vessel. This represents the highest monthly average since records began in 2018, according to analysis of provisional government data. The increase in boat size may be due to the involvement of fraudulent companies in China, which produce these large dinghies and export them to Belgian ports before they are obtained by people smugglers elsewhere. The National Crime Agency (NCA) is aware of unscrupulous traders in Turkey profiting from the migrant crisis. The NCA spokesperson stated that many of these vessels are manufactured specifically for people smugglers in China and other parts of Europe. These boats do not meet European safety regulations and are not suitable for sea crossings. Last month, the UK and Turkey reached a new agreement to disrupt people smuggling networks and combat illegal migration. The partnership includes the creation of a “center of excellence” in Turkey to enhance collaboration and intelligence sharing between enforcement agencies. While this deal aims to disrupt the supply chain for small boat parts across Europe, it does not include an agreement to return failed Turkish asylum seekers, whose numbers among illegal small boat arrivals have increased this year. According to Home Office figures, 1,486 Turkish nationals crossed the Channel to the UK by small boat in the first seven months of 2023, making them the second largest group after Afghan nationals. The number of Turkish arrivals has steadily risen since 2022 following a devastating earthquake that left an estimated 1.5 million people homeless. Lee West, a former Royal Marines Commando who went undercover in a French migrant camp, explained that companies such as those in Turkey manufacturing these perilous boats currently face no repercussions. He stated that they know there will be no consequences if a boat capsizes in the English Channel after being sold to smugglers. He further emphasized that since every aspect of smuggling is illegal, those selling the boats can operate without fear of repercussion. West, who posed as a migrant himself and crossed the Channel in a dinghy, mentioned that his experience with people smugglers revealed that their primary motivation is money. He referred to it as a big business, which has been successfully exploiting vulnerabilities in the UK’s security for years. While spending time in the migrant camps, West encountered not only criminal gangs but also activist groups actively assisting migrants in crossing borders and helping them with their paperwork once they arrive at their destination.

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