PARIS — French police have moved into a makeshift migrant camp outside the northern port city of Dunkirk to clear out an estimated 500 people seeking to cross the English Channel to Britain.

The camp in Grande-Synthe is a way-station for migrants, most of them Iraqi Kurds, where human traffickers are known to operate.

The regional prefecture said the migrants, including 40 unaccompanied minors, were removed on Thursday in an operation. Police put them on 21 buses heading to reception centers to see if they want to seek asylum.

It was the latest periodic clean-out of the camp. In June, 736 migrants were evacuated from the camp and a local gymnasium sheltering them.

Thursday's operation follows a June court decision to remove people illegally occupying private property.