A 16-year-old boy has been found dead on a beach in Calais.
The Sudanese migrant, who disappeared at sea, was found on the beach of Sangatte on Tuesday morning.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said the incident was an “upsetting and tragic loss of a young life”.
She added: “This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people.
“Working together we are determined to stop them.”
This is an upsetting and tragic loss of a young life.
This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people.
Working together we are determined to stop them. https://t.co/ARZovx8RUf
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) August 19, 2020
Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, described the teenager’s death as “horrifying”.
She said: “It is devastating to learn that a child has now died in the Channel while trying to seek safety in the UK.
“This is a horrifying but wholly expected death.
“We have repeatedly warned Priti Patel it was only a matter of time before her toxic policy to deny safe and legal routes to the UK would cost lives.
“This death lies firmly at her door. She should consider her position.”
Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said the boy’s death demonstrates the “total failure of our government” to help children in such desperate straits.
She said: “We are absolutely devastated by the unnecessary death of this child. We can only imagine the fear he felt and our hearts go out to his family.
“These young boys in Calais are our friends. They are fun to be with despite the horrors they have been through. Some are cheeky, some are smart, some like football, some like books. None deserve to be here and none deserve to die alone in the sea.”
Meanwhile, children were among dozens of migrants who arrived in Dover on Wednesday morning.
More than 50 people were taken into the Kent port aboard a lifeboat and a Border Force vessel.
The rescue came amid urgent discussions on where to house migrant children who travel to the UK unaccompanied.
Earlier this week, it emerged that unaccompanied children seeking asylum after arriving in the UK would be left under the care of Border Force after Kent County Council announced it had reached capacity.
The situation has been described as a “scandal” and a “political failure” by charities, who have called on the government to urgently make changes.
More than 4,700 migrants have reached the UK on small vessels this year.
Ms Patel previously said the crossings would be an “infrequent phenomenon” by now and has since insisted she is working to make the route “completely unviable”.