In 2018, 654 transmigrants were arrested in West Flanders in July. In August, there were even 887. For the time being, this year's counter is much lower. In July, 235 transmigrants were arrested, in August, 115 at the moment.
"Compared to last year, with a huge number of arrested transmigrants, we can see that there has been a break in the trend since May", says Carl Decaluwé, governor of West Flanders.
He gives several explanations for this decline: "A new phenomenon is emerging: small boats are trying to get from Calais to England. In Calais, the sea is the narrowest. More than 1,000 people have already tried that. I suspect they shift places because it is easier for them to cross the Channel from there. Here motorway car parks and harbours are controlled. These gangs are trying to get to England in a different way. Another reason could be the Brexit story. What is going to happen? Maybe they are a little more reluctant and stay in Europe. "
Nevertheless, the governor remains alert. "We will see what happens in the coming months. We must continue to mop up, because the valve remains open. The number of transmigrants remains, although their number has dropped a bit now. When we stop our actions, the smugglers know that too and they will try again through our region. We should constantly keep a close eye on everything."