'Migrants' have turned Calais region into bandit country for truckers

From MailOnline

By Katie Hopkins

It's a Jungle in Calais all right but the desperate migrants menacing truckers aren't the real problem - it's the ones we never see that you need to worry about.

Authorities say the French port is a no-go zone at night. And when you've been 28 hours in the cab of a truck, getting in and out of France, driving through the night, you're left in no doubt they are right. 

Calais is bandit country. Lawless. Ungodly. Inside the endless gates and fences, you made it. You are safe. Outside, you are a target. 

Leaving the truck park at 3am an hour outside Calais with my driver Vlad, we have strict instructions. Full tank of fuel. Do not stop. Do not slow down. Just drive. Vlad is grim. Barely speaking as he heads out into the night. Everyone making this journey is tense, peering out into the gloom, looking for the trouble they know is out there, waiting.  

On Wednesday in the early hours masked men wielding sticks felled a tree across the road outside the port. It's a driver's worst nightmare to be stationary. Left sitting vulnerable to the migrant hordes, vulnerable to being loaded with a new cargo for trade: humans. 

One of the drivers caught up in the nightmare filmed by the BBC tells me of his ordeal: 'They all had clubs, baseball bats or lengths of wood - and they meant business. The ringleader told me to wait. In clear English. Five minutes. While he organised his load. 

'I saw large numbers of migrants coming from the side of the road, trying to get into the five or six big artics that had been forced to stop. They opened the doors of the truck next to me and some climbed in. The ringleader asked me where I was going. I told him into France, to Rouen, not back to the UK. You never say you are going to the UK, whether you are or not. 

'Thankfully a local police car showed up quite quickly, the sirens getting louder, and the gang just vanished into the fields. No doubt to try again.' 

It's a story you will hear over and over. These gangs are unrelenting. Sometimes caught, immediately released. Accepting they will try again. 

He is so frustrated no one is talking about this issue he will drive through the night to prove it. He's desperate for people to understand the pressure haulage business is under and the real dangers drivers face. He pointed out his fuel bunker on the right of this road no one dares drive. Lying empty. Stripped bare. Businesses folded. No longer able to operate because of the traffickers. In a place too risky to drive in. A territory lost to invaders. 

Trucks simply cannot stop here now, cannot afford to be caught stationary on the road before the fences. Before Fortress Calais. You've seen pictures of the fences on the news. Been told it is okay. It's all fine now. Look how high this fence is! 

But it's not okay. The problem has just been moved on a bit. Illegal migrants are everywhere in the darkness. Two girls walk along the side of the road. Another group now, on the right, slips silently into the trees. Dissolving in front of our eyes. More sitting at the kerb. Waiting. Watching. But for what? 

An entire group of ten or twenty in the road ahead of us. Heads down. Walking. Seemingly without reason. But strangely purposeful just the same. This is the new cargo for haulage. The business is evolving quickly. No more the hectic scrambling, the desperate grabs for a space. 

Far fewer the slashing of vehicle sides to secret oneself away, the desperate journeys clinging to the underneath of a truck. The random acts of tree felling are acts of organised opportunists working on the margins. 

Prepared to intimidate drivers simply trying to do their job, like ticks on a hardworking dog. The real people traffickers have their affairs in order. Processes, systems, logistics, accounts. 

An efficient model for business in human flesh. The boss of the haulage firms tells me he cannot ignore the fact that some men working in the trade choose to be willing hosts: 'You have to reassure yourself, because 80% are good men. Loyal. Hardworking. Reliable.' As for the 20%? Some have their price. 

In truck parks, traditionally protected spaces for drivers to sleep, traffickers have reserved parking spots, purchased with the profits of this illegal trade. Here the willing truck driver sleeps in his cab in full knowledge that, later, his truck will be carrying more than the cargo on his paperwork. 

A man running a 'clean' truck park reports suspicious activity to the police when he sees it, waiting until he believes the human cargo has been stashed on board. 

Last week when he called the police they found eight men and two small children. No women. I can't bring myself to think about the fate of those two. He watched the driver pretend to be an illegal migrant in the back of the truck, waiting for the police to clear them out and release them so he could be on his way. To try again. 

This was one of the surprising things about my trip. I had created a picture of my truckers: big, brave English lads who liked a laugh but were happy in the company of their own. I was wrong. For the low wages on offer at many firms, British lads can't make a margin. So it's Eastern Europeans who are willing to fulfil the role. 

And there is a curious irony that the people who work so hard as immigrants to our country - both the 80% of good guys and the 20% who aren't - are now face-to-face with a migrant invasion from another country. 

We reach the port in the small hours and make it in behind the fences. Fortress Calais. Razor wire stretched endlessly across no-man's land between the migrant trenches and the truckers. There is no doubt the fortress has worked. It has pushed the problem back. The desperadoes are further up the road, on the kerb with their clubs. 

The sophisticated smugglers have become trafficking mafia, forced to up their game: truck-park spaces reserved for their trade; acquiescent drivers accepting pay-offs to boost their wages Eastern European grade wages. 

A British trucker points out the obvious flaws in port security. Certain trucks with soft sides are seemingly able to waft through the security checks, whilst reinforced refrigerated trucks with triple padlocks are stopped. I wonder whose side the authorities are on. 

Whether it's easier just to move the problem to the English side of the channel. Solve the problem by moving it along. It is estimated 20% of migrants wanting to get through to Britain do so each week.

It is my observation that the jungle has become a processing centre for the tens of thousands illegal migrants who make it across. It is now a transport hub, serviced by a network of opportunists; providing forged documents, basic English lessons, food and temporary shelter before illegal migrants meet with those who traffic them for cash.  And the port authorities seem only too pleased to turn a blind eye and wave them through.

An additional 140 French police officers are due to be drafted into Calais from this weekend. They may help save a few drivers from a beating in the night. Or stop opportunists boarding trucks. But this is a malevolent trade. Insidious. Policed by gangs. Run by fear - and payments. Payments to turn a blind eye. Payments to drive on without checking your cab. 

It's an established trade. Organised, efficient, ruthless. I expected to be scared in the dark on the roadside. But I never expected this. 

After 28 hours on the road I have a new-found respect for these truckers. They are brave, manly and self-contained. 80% of them good men, trying to do their jobs just like you or me. Trying to sleep in their cab, to eat cheaply, to do a good job, get home to their family. They have been let down badly. One tells me he can't tell his wife what he faces or she'd never let him in his cab again. 

But the 20% are now couriers, hauling loads made up of human beings instead of chalk or potatoes, beating hearts instead of animal offal. And just 30 or so miles from our coast is a place lost to the bad guys. 

Calais is a fortress, but outside the safety of the gates the traffickers run free. This is bandit country. Every man for himself.

Published on by Admin. Source.