Day 6

Truck drivers and refugees face off in Calais

Many refugees in Calais, France have been sneaking onto transport trucks to reach the UK. And truck drivers are doing everything in their power to stop them. But their efforts are proving futile. Brent speaks to a lorry driver and a Calais aid worker about the situation in Calais.
Migrants gather on the road as two board a lorry on the access road to reach the ferry terminal in Calais, France. Thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty are camped on the French side of the tunnel in Calais, trying to board vehicles heading for Britain. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

The number of refugees in Calais' refugee camp, also known as "The Jungle," has grown to more than 7,000 and is expected to get even more crowded. It's a muddy, makeshift field of tents, where bonfires and clashes with police are frequent.

But Calais isn't just a hotspot for refugees. It's a key port town on France's north western edge, and on of the easiest connections to the UK -- the bustling Port of Dover is just across the English Channel.

For many of the refugees in Calais, the UK is their final destination. And a common way to get there is by climbing aboard a transport truck in hopes of stowing away and making it across the Channel. And Calais is no stranger to trucks. The town sees 5-thousand transport trucks pass through its ports every day.

The practice has pushed lorry drivers to the edge. They face fines if they're found with migrants hidden on their trucks, and they say frustrated crowds have hurled objects at their trucks and smashed their windshields.

And drivers have acted aggressively, too. In a video posted on Youtube last week, a Hungarian truck driver repeatedly swerves towards groups of refugees on the road, nearly running them over.

Brent spoke to Mark Horner, a UK lorry driver who's been doing the job for 24 years, and frequently uses Calais as a port to and from France. Brent also spoke to Maya Konforti, who works for L'Auberge des Migrants, a humanitarian NGO based in Calais.