TikTok account offered £30k packages, including fake wives and children, to Albanians illegally staying in the UK
LONDON: A TikTok account has been found offering “fake family” packages — some costing £30,000 ($38,468) — to Albanian migrants illegally staying in the UK, an investigation has found.
The offer mainly targeted Albanians who had entered the country illegally by crossing the English Channel, and those who were imprisoned and faced deportation.
Albanian gangs within England recruited single British or EU mothers, with their children, to offer documentary evidence supporting the migrants’ right to stay in the country.
The TikTok account, which was created on May 10, read: “We have boys and girls for marriages. Guarantors for boys who are in prison (immigration detention centers). Ladies with children. Register of fatherhood. Applications to get documents from Albania with foreign girls.”
It added: “Application to get documents as a stepfather or a stepmother. It is very simple.”
According to Home Office statistics, Albanians make up over a quarter of migrants who illegally crossed the Channel into the UK on small boats last year — some 45,577.
An Albanian TV reporter went undercover and posed as a potential client inquiring about the services.
The TikTok profile said: “To all the interested people getting documents in the UK, number below the profile. As a form of payment, we accept apartments or cars in exchange for the documents.”
It went on: “(A total of) £30,000 for a woman with a child, £5,000 deposit then £25,000 when you get the certificate with your name as the father of that child.
“£20,000 to be registered as a stepfather, £5,000 deposit and £15,000 when you get papers. £25,000 for marriage. You pay £10,000 then, when you get documents, £15,000.”
The Chinese-owned social media site took down the advertisements and banned the accounts after being notified.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Our community guidelines are clear: that we prohibit content that attempts to facilitate human smuggling and trafficking.
“We have removed the content shared and permanently banned the accounts for violating these guidelines.”