ITV Meridian Special: Speaking to the refugees

The warnings have been consistent - it's only a matter of time before migrants are killed in their desperate attempts to get across the Channel from France to Kent and Sussex.

This weekend, one woman died after the boat she was in after getting into trouble drifting more than 20 miles off Ramsgate. 19 people were rescued, including 4 children.

They are still undeterred by warnings of the dangers.

This year alone, 1,000 are believed to have braved the seas from France to England.

  • Watch this special report by John Ryall who spoke to two refugees from Afghanistan who arrived to the UK unaccompanied as minors, and their struggle to settle down in the UK:


Hasrat works as a taxi driver on the Kent coast Credit: ITV Meridian

Now working as a taxi driver on the Kent coast, Hazrat arrived as human cargo hidden in the back of a lorry on a ferry from Calais to Dover.

It was the end of a journey that started in Afghanistan where an uncle paid an agent - a trafficker - a downpayment with the balance to be paid on proof of safe delivery to the UK.

Hazrat had seen his father killed by the Taliban.

His mother feared Hazrat could be the next to be killed in a violent dispute over the ownership of some family land.

  • Hasrat, Refugee

The 16 year old's agent-managed journey - walking, running, buses, lorries, boats, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Paris, Calais, Dover - took two months.

Learning that his application for asylum had succeeded ended months of nightmares about a forced return to Afghanistan.


Age 14, Hadi's school was a Taliban-run madrassa Credit: ITV Meridian

Age 14, Hadi's school was a Taliban-run madrassa. Upstairs he was instructed in the Koran.

In the basement he was taught how to fire an AK-47 assault rifle.

Then came lessons in terrorism.

He was told he and his family would be killed if he talked about what was described by his instructors as 'military training'.

Fortunately, he disobeyed them.

Hadi's family decided to pay a trafficker to get him and his brother out of Afghanistan.

A plan accelerated after he returned home from the madrassa to find his village destroyed and family members missing.

  • Hadi, refugee

During more than 200 attempts to stowaway on a lorry from Calais, he lost contact with his brother. They were reunited a year later by the lawyers handling their applications for asylum.

Hadi was refused refugee status, then refused again on appeal, but his second appeal was successful.

During more than 200 attempts to stowaway on a lorry from Calais, he lost contact with his brother.

Foster care and college followed. His ambition is to train as a plumber and start his own business.

Hadi says he hates to think what he might have become if the Taliban 'brainwashing' had continued.

The top countries of refugee origin:

  • Syria

  • Iraq

  • Iran

  • Afghanistan

  • Nigeria

  • Eritrea

  • Somalia

The landing points:

  • Ramsgate

  • Dover

  • Deal

  • Folkestone

  • Dungeness

  • Hastings

  • Watch ITV News Meridian's report in full here: