* The plight of the bleeding hearts. Sure you al feel sorry for her.
* Â Most of the migrants claim to be fromÂ Iraq,Â AfghanistanÂ or the Middle East, although police believe many are fromÂ AfricaÂ and the Balkans.
* Yvonne Ridley nearly died of envy when she heard that…
A British woman has been raped by a gang of asylum seekers inÂ Calais, it has been alleged.
The journalism student wanted to highlight the plight of migrants who sleep rough in a squalid camp at the French port before trying to sneak intoÂ Britain.
She was subjected to a horrific attack by six Afghan men she intended to write about, it was claimed.
Attack: Part of the area known as the Jungle, in Calais, where the British journalism student was allegedly rapedÂ
French riot police rounded up 200 migrants for questioning.
Ten remained in custody tonight and police said it was possible all had been involved in the rape, which detectives described as ‘extremely brutal’.
Police said the 31-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aLondonÂ student who had travelled toÂ FranceÂ ‘to highlight problems surrounding clandestine immigration’.
She is believed to have wanted to spend time with the refugees in a notorious unofficial camp called ‘The Jungle’, in a disused industrial zone a short walk from the ferry port.
About 500 asylum seekers live a vagrant lifestyle in woods there, making tents out of plastic sheets and building fires, as they wait for an opportunity to stow away on ferries or trains to the South coast of England.
One migrant said Tuesday’s attack took place on a scruffy football pitch used by squatters as a meeting place.
Refugees in Calais. The student was a journalist reporting on illegal immigration from France to Britain
The victim remains inÂ Calais, with police hoping she will be able to identify her attackers. Tonight she was described as ‘utterly traumatised and receiving counselling’.
A police spokesman said: ‘She appeared to be working alone, which was clearly a very dangerous thing to do. We fear that the men she was reporting on attacked her in the wood where they were staying.
‘She deeply regrets going into The Jungle alone, especially at night. She concedes it was a very dangerous thing to do.’
Philippe Muller, of the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor’s office, said: ‘Around 7.30pm on Tuesday a student journalist went to the wood named The Jungle inÂ CalaisÂ to produce a photojournalism report. She was the victim of a rape.’
The woman is originally fromÂ Vancouver,Â Canada, but has lived inÂ BritainÂ for most of her life, said police.
On Wednesday they took her back to The Jungle to see if she could identify her attackers. One Afghan man, Zabi Ullah, 20, said: ‘We were rounded up and each man was shown to her to see if he was the one. She did not pick anyone but I heard that the men who did it ran away.’
Another Afghan said he had spoken to the woman on Monday and she had told him she was a journalism student who wanted to interview migrants who live rough. He said: ‘She was very nice and seemed interested in what we had to tell her and how difficult it is for us all.’
A third said: ‘Yes, I saw a young journalist with a camera. Lots come this way. I don’t know who she was exactly, but she was a student fromÂ London.’
Most of the migrants claim to be fromÂ Iraq,Â AfghanistanÂ or the Middle East, although police believe many are fromÂ AfricaÂ and the Balkans.
They are supported by charities, with the newly elected Right-wing council inÂ Calaisrefusing to provide them with permanent accommodation.
Father Jean-Pierre Boutoille, of the refugee charity C’Sur, said: ‘There are lots of journalists, including students, who come here to get to the heart of what’s going on.
‘When reporters contact us, we always ask to accompany them because we know the refugees.
‘We would never allow a young female adventurer in this wood, especially not at night. On Tuesday we did not receive any requests for assistance, and nor did any other charities.’
Stephen Ward, course director of the noSWeat Journalism Training centre inÂ London, said: ‘We have 250 students and she could be one of ours, we just don’t know at the moment. It’s the summer holidays and our students are very ambitious and very hardworking.
‘Going toÂ CalaisÂ to find out the real story of the immigrants is just the sort of self-starting thing they would do. But if one of them has come to harm, it will be very sad indeed, especially if it turned out the young woman was trying to help these people tell their story.’
In 2005 a gang of would-be migrants were implicated in the rape of a resident of Oye-Plage, nearÂ Calais. But while fights between refugees competing for routes intoÂ Britainare commonplace, this is believed to be the first time that a journalist trying to highlight their situation has been attacked.
CalaisÂ became a magnet for asylum seekers in the late 1990s after the opening of the Sangatte Red Cross Centre, which housed 67,000 over three years.
Before its closure in 2002, following an agreement between the French and British governments, many tried to jump on to slow-moving trains at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, or hide inside lorries crossing toÂ Britain.
There were plans to open a Sangatte 2 but although this was recently abandoned, would-be migrants toÂ BritainÂ still arrive by the day. The Home Office said the number of refugees caught enteringÂ BritainÂ illegally fromÂ CalaisÂ has fallen to around 1,500 a year from 10,000 in 2002, when Sangatte closed.