Welcome to the Jungle

Friday, August 29th, 2008

A female journalism student from London decided to investigate conditions at an immigrant camp known as the Jungle in Calais — at night, alone:

Mr Muller said Tuesday’s rape in a hut in the Calais ghetto known as ‘the Jungle’, where hundreds of would-be immigrants to Britain sleep rough, was particularly brutal.

The woman was taking photographs of a gang of immigrants outside one of the shelters around twilight, despite being warned by police not to approach the camp alone.

‘One of them asked her to look at something else,’ said Mr Muller. ‘She followed him inside one of the huts, and that’s where it happened.

‘The victim was raped and brutally attacked. She has very severe wounds around the mouth and scratch marks on her face.
The student, who was born in Canada but who has lived in England most of her life, travelled to France “to highlight problems surrounding clandestine immigration”, said police.

A spokesman added: ‘She was working alone, and admits that going into the Jungle during the evening by herself was immensely naive.

‘She has been through a terrible ordeal and is determined to bring those responsible to justice.’

Although most of the migrants in Calais claim to be asylum seekers from war-torn areas like Afghanistan and Iraq, police believe many are economic migrants from Africa and the Balkans drawn to Britain’s generous social security system and black economy.

They are supported by charities, with the newly elected Right-wing council in Calais refusing to provide them with permanent accommodation.

Calais became a magnet for asylum seekers in the late 1990s after the opening of the Sangatte Red Cross Centre, which housed 67,000 over three years.

Before its closure in 2002, following an agreement between the French and British governments, many tried to jump on to slow-moving trains at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, or hide inside lorries crossing to Britain.

The jungle was supposed to be burned down — “its reputation as a no-go area was allowing serious crimes, including drug abuse and stolen property dealing, to carry on unhindered” — but the razing was called off, because immigrants were putting their lives at risk by breaking into the nearby chemical plant to create shelters.

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