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More than 18,000 people have crossed the English Channel this year

Border Force boat Defender with migrants at Dover Docks, England on 24 June 2022 [Stuart Brock/Anadolu Agency]
Border Force boat Defender with migrants at Dover Docks, England on 24 June 2022 [Stuart Brock/Anadolu Agency]

The UK Ministry of Defence has released figures that reveal more than 18,000 refugees have crossed the English Channel this year.

On Saturday, 337 people crossed on ten boats and the Monday before that Border Force rescued 696 people in what became the busiest day so far in 2022.

The MOD's figures also show that 1,709 people have been rescued and brought to the UK in the first few days of August, over half the 3,053 people that were rescued during the whole month of August 2021.

Since Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the refugee partnership with Rwanda on 14 April, 12,840 people have made the crossing.

Last month a group of MPs said that given the high number of people who have made the journey already this year, there is no evidence that the Rwanda scheme will result in less crossings.

The Channel crossings have been at the heart of the Conservative Party leadership contest with both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss outlining their plans to ramp up security at the border.

READ: UK: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss both pledge to pursue further Rwanda-style deals

Truss has said that if she is elected leader she will double the amount of Border Force officials working on patrols in the Channel and deport more migrants.

Sunak has said he will take back control of the UK's borders and "reform our broken asylum laws."

Both leadership hopefuls have said they will pursue further Rwanda-style deals with other countries.

On Wednesday the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the British Red Cross released a report to say that people seeking safety in the UK may be at risk of exploitation due to gaps in the British asylum system.

Vulnerable people are being forced into modern slavery, says the report, including sexual exploitation and forced criminality.

The report highlighted that too much effort was going into immigration enforcement rather than safety and protection which held people back from disclosing their experiences.

"Inadequate training for government officials, delays to decision making, poor housing and too little support also all make people vulnerable to poverty and exploitation," said the report.

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