Deaths in the Channel: the French agency fighting migrant trafficking gangs

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On November 24th, at least 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank in the Channel as they attempted a clandestine crossing to the UK from France. Behind the crossings are highly organised criminal gangs which make vast profits from the migrant trafficking, even ordering container loads of small boats from China. They are the target of a dedicated French police agency called the OCRIEST, which is investigating last month’s tragedy. In this interview with Mediapart, its director, Xavier Delrieu, details how the gangs operate and the methods employed to dismantle them.

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Earlier this week, the French authorities announced that they had identified 26 of the 27 bodies found in the Channel close to the French port of Calais after the sinking on November 24th of an inflatable dinghy carrying migrants attempting a clandestine crossing to Britain.