France and UK pledge action after over 20 migrants drown in English Channel

France and Britain agreed on Wednesday to do more to stop migrants from making perilous journeys through the English Channel after more than 20 migrants died this week.

The two sides agreed that France would use patrols and surveillance to curb the number of people crossing the English Channel, operations that Britain will pay for, The New York Times reported.

In a video statement posted on Twitter Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris JohnsonBoris JohnsonUK tightens COVID-19 restrictions following omicron variant infections Macron tells UK to 'get serious' on migrant crisis amid fresh tensions France and UK pledge action after over 20 migrants drown in English Channel MORE said the route was being exploited by gangs. 

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“I also want to say this disaster underscores how dangerous it is to cross the Channel in this way. And it also shows how vital it is that we now step up our efforts to break the business model of the gangsters who are sending people to sea in this way,” Johnson said. 

“And of course, we have to work with our French friends, with our European partners, and I say to our partners across the Channel: Now is the time for us all to step up, to work together, to do everything that we can to break these gangs who are literally getting away with murder,” he added.

The agreement between the two sides comes as France reported on Wednesday that 31 migrants had died after trying to cross the waterway that separates Great Britain and France. A pregnant woman and children were among those who died on Wednesday, according to French officials, The Times reported.

The newspaper noted that Britain is seen as an attractive destination for asylum seekers and migrants given that it can be easier to find under-the-table work, English is spoken there and they may have family or acquaintances already living there.