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Migrants at sea waiting for a NGO vessel. Photo supplied

Human traffickers confirm NGO contacts with criminal organisations

The Italian public prosecutor's office is investigating NGOs who illegally bring people from Africa to Europe by ship. Statements from these smugglers now underpin the Italian investigations that some NGO ships are also in close contact with human traffickers from North Africa.

Published: January 8, 2022, 8:31 am

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    The Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung spoke to three Libyan smugglers who confirmed to the journalists that there were contacts between human traffickers and NGO ships.

    The smugglers’ statements also supported the investigations of the public prosecutor’s office in Trapani in Sicily, which collected 650 pages of evidence to prove a cooperation between the NGOs and the human traffickers – including images, internal e-mails and WhatsApp communication, tapped phone calls and conversations from the navigation bridges of NGO ships.

    As the Swiss daily Blick reported, however, large NGOs such as Médecins sans Frontières or Save the Children have been denying such cooperation. However, the SonntagsZeitung reported on at least a dozen cases of direct deliveries from migrants by the tugs to these NGO ships. The empty tug boats then returned to Libya.

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