London: Indians are reportedly among thousands of illegal immigrants willing to pay human smugglers up to 1,500 pounds to flee the UK. A new BBC undercover documentary has revealed that the foreign nationals are put in the back of trucks and transported to Calais in France before making their way to other European destinations.
Some want to try their luck elsewhere in the European Union instead of going to their home country and some others are criminals fleeing the country. A fixer for one such human smuggling group, a former Indian police officer, told an undercover reporter for BBC's Panorama expose that he could be taken across the English Channel as part of two or three trips organised every week.
Another Indian national told the show Immigration Undercover, to be telecast in London later on Monday evening, that he ran a prostitution racket in Ilford, east London, which employed young girls whose visas had expired. One such girl, Ushma, said she would meet 40 clients a week to pay for her sister's wedding back in India.
The UK government has stressed that it is cracking down on organised immigration crime. Mark Harper, UK minister of state for immigration, said Britain is working with other European governments to tackle criminal gangs involved in the movement of migrants.
"One of the things we do with our colleagues in other, both EU countries and non-EU countries, is work closely internationally to try and crack down on these gangs who are committing organised immigration crime and preying on some of these vulnerable people," he said.
There are no firm figures on the number of illegal migrants living in Britain, although in 2009 a London School of Economics study reported that there were at least 600,000.
The so-called "ghosts" are a mixture of failed asylum seekers who have not returned home and economic migrants living and working illegally in the UK. Many first came to the UK on bogus students or tourist visas and overstayed in order to work.