A French court has jailed four Afghans and handed lesser sentences to five others for illegally smuggling migrants across the Channel to Britain on dinghies in 2021. London and Paris are clamping down on illicit boat crossings into the United Kingdom on the perilous route, which has been used by growing numbers of people since 2018. The court tried nine Afghans aged 21 to 39 for taking part in four operations to smuggle 53 mainly Vietnamese and Afghan migrants across the Channel between January and March 2021. All passengers were picked up in either British or French waters. The Paris court on Wednesday jailed a 30-year-old for six years and fined him 30,000 euros ($32,000) for orchestrating the crossings, charges he denied throughout the trial. It ordered that he should be expelled from France once he has served his time. It sentenced three other defendants to five years in jail and a 25,000-euro fine each, also ordering their deportation afterwards. One of them had six months of his jail term suspended. Five other Afghans were handed lesser sentences and will not go to prison.