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The Interior Ministry is running social media ads in Vietnam to deter migrants on small boats

The Home Office is launching social media ads to stop Vietnamese nationals traveling to the UK illegally in small boats.

According to the government, an increasing number of migrants entering the UK illegally across the English Channel are coming from the UK Vietnam.

New ads, building on similar ads already used in Albania, will be written in Vietnamese and feature statements from people misled by the claims of people smuggling gangs.

A migrant named K remembers sleeping for five nights in a camp in Calais under the supervision of armed guards before crossing the English Channel in a small boat.

He says, “Never again would I risk my life in a small boat, even if you bribed me.”

Another, G, says: “I lied to my family at home. I’m still in debt.”

Someone called A added: “We still owe £5,500 for the trip.”

According to preliminary figures, 514 migrants traveled across the English Channel in ten small boats in a single day On Wednesday.

So far this year, illegal small boat arrivals stand at 4,043 – 10% more than at the same time in 2023.

It comes as Video materialpublished by the charity Lighthouse Reports, appears to show a French Border Force boat using aggressive tactics to physically force a refugee boat to turn around.

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“Aggressive tactics” by the French border troops

Debunking myths about life as an illegal immigrant in the UK

The Home Office’s new adverts aim to debunk myths spread by criminal gangs – both about the journey and about life illegally in the UK once they arrive.

They warn that the English Channel is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world and small boats are therefore often at risk of being hit by larger ships.

They also say many boats disintegrate while underway, putting passengers at risk of drowning or hypothermia within minutes.

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Speaking about life as an illegal immigrant in the UK, they say those who make the journey risk falling into debt to criminal gangs, being forced into modern slavery and living in inhumane accommodation.

This also includes testimonials from immigration and border police employees.

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Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “This is a powerful campaign that shows first-hand that the lives of people coming here illegally are a far cry from the lies being sold to them by the gangs across the Channel. “

“Last year, similar work helped reduce the arrival of small boats from Albania by 90% and the overall number fell by a third, but there is more to do.”

“Expanding our campaign to include Vietnam, another key partner in our work to combat illegal migration, will help us save more lives and damage the business model of the criminals who profit from this vile trade.”

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