Italian TV Report: “Sea Rescue” NGOs work with human traffickers

July 26, 2019

As mentioned in: Diversity – I Have Questions

New reports by Italian channel Rete 4 document how “sea rescue” NGOs are in contact with people smugglers in Libya to ferry hundreds of illegal migrants to Italy. German MP Petr Bystron now demands prosecutors finally do their job.

Bystron filed criminal charges against the leading open borders NGOs in Germany a year ago, who seek to bring as many migrants as possible into the EU under the guise of “sea rescue”. German prosecutors have refused to investigate so far, however, citing “lack of evidence”, even though the activities of the NGOs are well-documented.

Thus, Sea-Watch has released a video showing how they interrupted an ongoing rescue by the Libyan Coast Guard on Nov. 6, 2017, inducing many of the 130 migrants who had already been rescued from their unseaworthy rubber raft to jump in the water again. Five people died, including a 2-year-old boy. The Libyan Coast Guard said at the time: “Sea Watch’s unauthorized intervention caused the death of five migrants”.

Now, Rete 4 talk show “La Quarta Repubblica” released footage showing how migrants contact the human traffickers, who assured them they are in contact with the rescue NGOs like the Spanish NGO “Proactiva Open Arms” and the German NGO “Sea-Watch”.

On July 8, Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini announced such recordings exist on the same talk show: “They call them on the phone and say, ‘Hey Guys, we’re coming, where can we meet you?’”

Now, host Nicola Porro presented a report by investigative journalist Lodovica Bulian, who interviewed a migrant who had just come to Italy from Libya. The young man showed them private Facebook groups owned by the human trafficker from Zuwara, who uses them to advertise his services: “If you get to Italy, they tell you to make a video to show everyone you made it, so the traffickers can recruit more people to come. I made the crossing with the help of the Libyan Mafia too.”

The human traffickers work with the Libyan police, the young migrant said. “They bribe the Police so they don’t stop the smuggler’s boats. The Libyan authorities never stop the smugglers. They are no problem. They have a deal.”

Using the information supplied by the witness, Bulian’s team contacted the trafficker.

Lokman Zwari. Zwari operates a Facebook group with 14,000 members to advertise the passage to Europe. Photos on the Facebook group show off the smugglers’ equipment proudly, including Thuraya satellite phones. Videos show happy migrants celebrating their crossing, dancing and singing to music, obviously far from being in distress at sea.

Posing as a Moroccan migrant, a member of Bulian’s team called the human smuggler, who confirmed he could bring the caller to Italy for 1600 Euros ($1782). When the caller asked for safety guarantees, the trafficker said, “We know there are rescue ships out there on patrol, you will be in in touch with them. There’s the Sea Watch, right now the Open Arms in on patrol. The Sea Watch is detained in Italy, but there are other ships nearby.”

The trafficker then sent the position of the “Open Arms”, the phone number of the NGO and a screenshot of the call via Viber, the number and the Facebook info of the Spanish NGO.

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