France Charges Algerian with Manslaughter over Migrant Death in English Channel

DUNGENESS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: A group of around 40 migrants arrive via the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) on Dungeness beach on August 04, 2021 in Dungeness, England. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel recently said that the government would seek to criminalise irregular migration, accusing people smugglers of "exploiting …
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A French court has charged an Algerian with manslaughter after a 27-year-old Eritrean died trying to illegally cross the English Channel last week.

On Thursday, a record 592 illegals in small boats crossed into British waters on Thursday, taking the total for the first two weeks of August to an estimated 2,049. The Press Association reports that according to its data, more than 11,000 migrants have crossed the Channel this year.

But French authorities were forced to intervene after multiple vessels carrying around 160 people went into distress on Thursday, including one boat of 36 people that began to sink, resulting in the death of the 27-year-old from Eritrea off the coast of Dunkirk.

Over the weekend, French authorities detained and then charged a 21-year-old Algerian with assisting illegal migration, endangering the lives of others, and the manslaughter of the Eritrean man, according to the BBC.

The Eritrean migrant had been pulled unconscious from the water and was medevacked to a hospital in Calais, but died shortly after arrival.

The British broadcaster reported claims that the Eritrean’s 22-year-old girlfriend had watched as he and others jumped out of the sinking boat in a bid to lighten the load and keep the vessel afloat.

Ouest France stated that the fatality was the first reported migrant death in the English Channel this year.

People smugglers have killed far more in the Mediterranean Sea — the major crossing point from Africa and the Middle East to Europe — since the beginning of 2021, including at least 57 people who were led to their deaths — including women and children — off the coast of Libya in late July.

In the first six months of this year, at least 1,146 people had drowned in the Mediterranean, double that of the same period the year before. Since 2014, around 19,000 migrants have died attempting to cross the Mediterranian trying to reach Europe, often in unseaworthy vessels provided by criminal smugglers.

People smuggling has become a profitable business model for criminal enterprises in recent years, charging thousands to transport migrants across the Mediterranean, landing in hotspots like Greece, Italy, and Spain and onwards to generous, economically successful northern European countries, including Great Britain.

Late last year, a French immigration inspector stated he suspects there are around 100 sophisticated and organised people-smuggling gangs running illegals across the English Channel alone, with one recently-busted UK-based network found to have been turning profits of £1 million a month by offering “VIP” trafficking services.

European courts have attempted to seek justice for the victims of the many people smugglers, including those who are of migrant backgrounds themselves, who have raped, abused, and killed those who had paid to be taken to Europe, either by land or sea.

The threat that people smugglers pose to migrants does not end when they step foot on shore, however, with many forced to sign slave contracts that tie them in to criminal networks, working in the black economy to pay off their fare for being trafficked, often forced to work in restaurants, cannabis farms, laundrettes, massage parlours, and brothels.

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