Albanian criminals charging up to £20,000 to smuggle migrants to the UK brazenly tout their services on TikTok and other social media sites.
A Mail investigation found popular sites awash with adverts from human traffickers, sometimes mocking attempts by the British authorities to stop them and posting slickly produced step-by-step tutorials to help illegal migrants sneak into the UK.
They illustrate the scale of the problem facing Home Secretary Priti Patel, who recently visited Albania to sign a deal speeding up deportations of criminals and failed asylum seekers.
The number of migrants crossing the Channel has surged in recent days to reach more than 8,000 for the year so far – more than for the whole of 2020.
One people smuggler, whose TikTok account has been viewed by tens of thousands of people, boasts in his profile: ‘All interested who’d like to get to England contact my inbox. Journey secure 100 per cent.’ His videos feature pictures of the Union Jack and Big Ben with the comment: ‘Secure journey from Albania to the UK. 23K Euro.’
One people smuggler, whose TikTok account has been viewed by tens of thousands of people, boasts in his profile: ‘All interested who’d like to get to England contact my inbox. Journey secure 100 per cent.’ His videos feature pictures of the Union Jack and Big Ben with the comment: ‘Secure journey from Albania to the UK. 23K Euro’
This page is under the name ‘Journey to England’ and by using Google map and professionally made graphics they tell step by step on tutorial videos how to get in the UK illegally
Albanian criminals are using Tik Tok as a tool to publish tutorial videos on how to get illegally to the UK from France
The number of migrants crossing the Channel has surged in recent days to reach more than 8,000 for the year so far – more than for the whole of 2020
In other videos he ridicules British attempts to crack down on illegal migration by showing footage of a police raid on a house while offering to sell black market visas to get people into the UK.
Another TikTok user called England Albania published a video showing several Albanians inside a lorry saying they are heading to the UK.
A recently deleted Albanian account found by the Mail on TikTok featured guides on how to sneak in to the UK from France, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
Called ‘Journey to England’ it used Google maps and professionally-made graphics describing how to get to the UK from Caen in France.
Highlighting the best route, it added: ‘You have to be wearing clothes like cleaners. 05.50am the best time’.
The Mail also found Albanian smugglers advertising on an Instagram account called Journey-Belgium-London with a UK contact number.
The number of adverts by human traffickers illustrate the scale of the problem facing Home Secretary Priti Patel, who recently visited Albania to sign a deal speeding up deportations of criminals and failed asylum seekers
On the closed Facebook page ‘Albanians in London’, which has over 15,000 members, one Albanian using the name Leonard Sufa posted a photo of a lorry with the comment: ‘Tomorrow afternoon to England. Contact me DM.’ Last year the Mail exposed an Albanian human trafficker Kledjan Kurtaj who advertised on Facebook about an ‘easy-peasy’ back-door route into Britain via Dublin using fake documents.
The National Crime Agency’s director of threat leadership, Rob Jones, told the Commons home affairs committee that criminal gangs regularly use social media channels to publicise smuggling routes and advertise false or stolen documents.
He said the most prominent sites were Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Telegram but the posts were also seen on YouTube and TikTok.
Albanian criminals charging up to £20,000 to smuggle migrants to the UK brazenly tout their services on TikTok and other social media sites. Pictured: National Crime Agency officers arrest a man in Croydon as part of an NCA operation aimed at dismantling an organised crime group involved in transporting hundreds of Albanian migrants to the UK illegally on July 21
An Albanian Border Police source told the Mail most traffickers were aged between 18 and 22, from poor areas of Albania and are recruited by criminal networks to work as cannabis farmers in the UK. He said: ‘[They] agree to take this journey and to work as cannabis farmers until they pay up to £20,000, the cost of the smuggling.’
A TikTok spokesman said it had removed the trafficking videos. He added: ‘We have permanently banned several accounts for violating our policies and we will continue to take action where necessary.’
Facebook and Instagram also launched an investigation and removed some of the posts highlighted by the Mail.
A spokesman said: ‘We work closely with law enforcement agencies around the world, including the NCA and Europol, to identify, remove and report this illegal activity.’
Smuggling video rapper jailed over drugs farm
An illegal immigrant exposed by the Mail for posting videos on how to sneak into the UK has been jailed for working on a cannabis farm.
Albanian Dijonis Biba, 20, was part of a gang producing the drug in an operation run from a row of four suburban homes in Coventry.
More than 160 cannabis plants were found growing at the property Biba was working in – with a total street value for all the drugs thought to be about £300,000.
The aspiring rapper was arrested in January just days after the Mail revealed how he had posted videos online telling viewers how to enter the UK illegally. His guides included tips on fake IDs and airports where these false documents would not be detected.
Towering arrogance: Dijonis Biba in Blackpool
In the videos, Biba openly describes how he came to Britain illegally using a fake Romanian passport and would be removed if discovered.
In one video, still on YouTube, he used a map to show the route he claimed a friend took to get to England using a fake Italian ID and by travelling via a small Spanish airport.
He says in the video: ‘You should be smiling like an Italian guy. In this airport your ID will show as real despite it being faked.’ Biba also regularly posts images of himself online besides flashy cars.
Biba was jailed for 15 months at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to his involvement in cannabis production due to being in ‘debt bondage’ to a criminal gang. He is set to be deported afterwards.
YouTube insisted Biba’s videos did not violate its policies as it did not offer services or detailed information to aid border crossing.