Search icon


29th Jul 2021

Desperate migrants pledge to risk English Channel crossings ‘until they die’

Charlie Herbert

“I need to go to the UK. I am ready for anything to try and get there.”

Migrants in camps across the coast of France have said they are determined to try and get across the English Channel in search of a better life in the UK. This is despite the Home Office targeting them with adverts encouraging them not to come to the UK.

Around 2,000 migrants are estimated to be living in northern France, with many sleeping rough around Calais and Dunkirk as they wait to cross the stretch of sea on small boats or in lorries.

One 16-year-old boy, from Afghanistan, said: “I need to go to the UK. I am ready for anything to try and get there.”

“I will try until I die.”

This year has seen record numbers of people risk their lives to reach Britain. Crossings in unsafe dinghies have continued despite attempts from the Home Office to make the route “unviable.”

The Birmingham Mail reports that as part of these efforts, more than £23,000 on social media ads targeted at migrants living in France featuring slogans such as “There is no hiding place”, “Don’t put your or your child’s life in danger” and “We will return you” – translated into Kurdish, Arabic, Persian and Pashto.

Clare Moseley, founder of the migrant charity Care4Calais, accused the Home Office of “wasting money.”

She said: “It’s extremely naive of this Government to think that social media ads will deter them. This isn’t a choice.”

Related links:

Priti Patel urged to stop ‘cruel’ plan to keep asylum seekers offshore

Migrants who use dinghies to cross Channel to claim asylum will no longer be prosecuted

New record as more than 430 migrants cross Channel in one day

One Sudanese man who saw the ads on social media said: “We know that crossing and taking a boat is really dangerous, but we don’t have the choice. UK is our only chance and better than Calais.”

Another said that he was “ready to die,” but still had faith that he would “cross OK.”

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander for the Home Office, said: “We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings.

“The adverts are aimed at dissuading migrants in France and Belgium from making dangerous attempts to enter the UK.

“They have reached thousands of migrants highlighting the risk to life of making these journeys and providing information on claiming asylum in the safe country they are in.”