In a sharp reversal of an established trend, undocumented immigrants in the United Kingdom are now paying human trafficking gangs to smuggle them out of their adopted countries, the BBC’s Panorama reported in a new investigative documentary, “Immigration Undercover.”
Underground networks charge up to $2,300 to migrants looking for a ride in trucks bound for mainland Europe, the BBC reported, adding that one group claimed to make three such trips per week.
“You might be wondering why these people don’t hand themselves into the authorities and volunteer for repatriation,” said BBC reporter Paul Kenyon, who went undercover for the documentary. “Well, they spent an awful amount of time and money getting to Europe in the first place. They might not want to go all the way back home; they might want to have a crack at somewhere like Spain or France, see if there’s work there.”
Some immigrants are still desperate to stay in the UK. During its investigation, BBC reporters also found groups running prostitution rings that employed young women with expired visas.