UK and Türkiye are intensifying collaborative efforts to combat human trafficking strategies across Europe, stated the British prime minister on Wednesday.
Rishi Sunak, responding to a question at the House of Commons regarding the small boat supply chain, emphasized the need to take all necessary measures “to prevent the boats and address illegal migration.”
“We know that the export of small boats across parts of the European continent is a vital element of the smuggling gangs’ tactics. And that’s why specifically we are stepping up joint operations with Türkiye,” he said.
Sunak said he had raised this issue with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “when we spoke so that we can tackle organized immigration crime and specifically disrupt the supply chain of both parts that are used for these dangerous crossings.”
The Channel crossings to the UK from French coasts have been in the spotlight as the number of migrants entering the country has steadily risen for the past years.
More than 870 migrants were detected crossing the English Channel via small boats last Saturday, a record number on a single day so far in 2023, the UK Home Office said on Sunday.
A total of 872 people in 15 small boats crossed the Channel on Saturday, breaking the previous single-day record on Aug. 10, when 756 migrants were detected.
A total of 1,232 migrants in 21 small boats were detected crossing the English Channel between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, according to official data.
Meanwhile, the backlog of asylum seeker cases in Britain has hit a new record high, with 175,457 people waiting for a decision on asylum application in the UK at the end of June 2023, a 44% increase from the end of June 2022, according to official figures released last month.
Sunak says tackling the problem of irregular migration via small boat is among the top priorities of his government.
However, arrivals continue despite efforts to tackle the issue, including the controversial Rwanda plan, illegal migration bill, and most recently, housing asylum seekers on “more cost-effective forms of accommodation” such as disused military bases and barges.
The government also increased fines for those who allow illegal migrants to work for them or live on their properties.
According to official data, a record 45,756 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in 2022.