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Europol is targeting a network of trafficking immigrants to the UK

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Paris (AP) — Police in the United Kingdom and other European countries conducted a joint operation on Tuesday targeting people suspected of smuggling immigrants to the United Kingdom in small boats.

The British National Crime Countermeasures Agency said six people were arrested in London's Docklands and Catford areas, and dozens of attacks were also carried out in Germany, France and the Netherlands.

In a statement, authorities said the operation targeted "a criminal network suspected of using small boats to smuggle thousands of people into Britain." French law enforcement officials said the operation targeted "major organized crime groups" allegedly fostering human smuggling in the English Channel from France to the United Kingdom.

Police in Osnabrück, Germany, said 18 people were arrested in northwestern and southwestern Germany on suspicion of being involved in the systematic smuggling of foreigners. .. They said more than 900 police officers conducted 36 investigations in Germany and equivalent operations were carried out in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Eurojust of the Eurojust was scheduled to hold a press conference on the operation in The Hague on Wednesday.

Thousands of people wishing to enter the UK are trying to cross the English Channel, one of the world's busiest routes, with dinghys and other fragile vessels each year. ..

Last year, more than 28,000 immigrants arrived in the UK via the straits. It increased from 8,500 in 2020. Dozens of people died while attempting to cross, including 27 from a packed boat captured in November.

Immigrants have long used northern France as a starting point to reach Britain, a favorite destination for many because of language, family ties, or awareness of the UK's open economy. rice field.

The British and French governments have been trying for years to stop their journey, but with little success, messing up who is responsible for the failure. Follow all AP stories about global migration with