Migrants hoping to enter the UK will be shown ‘hard-hitting’ geo-targeted adverts via social media in a bid to deter people from making dangerous attempts via the English Channel.
From Wednesday, the adverts will appear to migrants located near border hotspots via Facebook and Instagram, warning they could be sent back to mainland Europe even if they successfully make the journey across.
The Home Office said the campaign will include activity to undermine and disrupt organised criminal gangs who make money from exploiting vulnerable people, aiming to tackle disinformation spread by smugglers.
Use of trained dogs and scanners to detect people breathing are among the key messages in the adverts, as well as informing migrants that the UK asylum process is no better than in France, Belgium or other EU states.
The adverts will appear along coastal areas of Belgium, including Brugge and Zeebrugge Port, as well as Calais, Dunkirk, Grande-Synthe, Gravelines, Saint-Martin-Boulogne, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Bourseville, Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont and Picardie in France.
Migrants hoping to enter the UK will be shown ‘hard-hitting’ geo-targeted adverts via social media in a bid to deter people from making dangerous attempts via the English Channel (migrants are pictured in Dover in November)
It comes after 39 Vietnamese men, women and children, aged between 15 and 44, were found dead in the back of a trailer in Essex on October 23 last year.
Chilling photos released by police today show how some of the migrants who suffocated in the back of a lorry while being smuggled into Britain tried to create air holes with a metal pole.
The photos have been issued as those responsible for their deaths have been convicted for manslaughter and people smuggling offences after a 10-week trial at the Old Bailey today.
Speaking about the new adverts clandestine Channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney said: ‘We are determined to make this route completely unviable and are working tirelessly to stop migrants from coming to the UK illegally, at every step of their journey.
‘Criminals are exploiting vulnerable people for profit and are selling false dreams of life in the UK. This new campaign will aim to dissuade migrants from making this dangerous and unnecessary journey.
From Wednesday, the adverts will appear to migrants located near border hotspots via Facebook and Instagram, warning they could be sent back to mainland Europe even if they successfully make the journey across
‘This campaign will build on our work with the French to stop people leaving French beaches and dismantle people smuggling gangs, while also fixing the asylum system to make it firmer on those who seek to abuse it and fairer on those in genuine need of our help.’
Messaging will be translated into Farsi, Arabic, Pashto and Kurdish to reflect the top five nationalities of migrants, which are Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese and Afghan.
The campaign also promotes vehicle security advice to the haulier industry and drivers with the aim of increasing the use of vehicle security measures and checks.
It comes after the news that more than 37,000 migrants have absconded in Britain – the equivalent of the entire town of Redcar.
Official figures show the Home Office cannot trace tens of thousands of people who have either skipped their immigration bail conditions or fled from detention centres.
It comes after 39 Vietnamese men, women and children, aged between 15 and 44, were found dead in the back of a trailer in Essex on October 23 last year
Last week, campaigners seized on the data, which was released under Freedom of Information laws, as proof that Britain’s immigration system is not being properly enforced.
Some foreign citizens – including asylum seekers, those caught entering the UK unlawfully and those overstaying their visa – are meant to report regularly to immigration centres or police stations if there are potential grounds to deport them.
But the Home Office figures show 37,302 foreign nationals living in the UK had disappeared over the past three decades up to the end of September this year.
People smuggling gangs are also offering a ‘Christmas discount’ to migrants wanting to cross the Channel to Britain illegally for as little as £300 a head.
Security sources said the organised criminals have slashed prices as the UK Border Force prepares for a surge in crossings over the festive period.
Intelligence reports suggest average costs for migrants are around £500 to £1,000, with some gangs offering deals for as little as £300, it is understood.
In September the average price was around £2,700 a head and at the beginning of the year just over £4,000.
It means illegal crossings are now available for less than a tenth of what they cost in January.