French police have arrested 15 suspected members of an international network that helped migrants cross the Channel to the United Kingdom.
The arrests come at a time when more and more migrants are venturing down this perilous route, and tensions are mounting between the French and British.
Among those arrested are Iraqi Kurds, Romanians, Pakistanis and Vietnamese. They are said to have approached migrants in northern France and urged them to cross the Channel in small boats. According to the survey, which began in October last year, this network helped at least 250 people a month on their journey to the south of England.
According to the police, the smugglers charged 6000 euros per migrant. They would have made about 3 million euros in profit. The arrests, which had already taken place last week but have only now been announced, also seized 40,000 euros.
France reports that 31,500 migrants have attempted to cross the Channel this year. Some 7,800 of them were rescued at sea. According to the British, more than 25,000 migrants have already illegally entered the UK via this route this year, tripling the number last year.
France and the UK are working together to stop the flow of migrants, but both feel the other is not doing enough. The countries are also embroiled in a row over the number of licenses the UK has issued to French fishermen after Brexit. According to France, there are too few.