Tag Archives: human trafficking

Migrant boats increase at UK coast

The coastguard reported the 13 migrant boats found along the southeast coast of the UK on June 1. A senior British minister Sajid Javid said the situation was “alarming” amid concerns that warming weather could fuel more crossings. (Imge above: Dover)

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it used RNLI lifeboats from Dover (pictured), Dungeness and Rye to respond to the small-boat crossings, as well as coastguard rescue teams from Folkestone, Langdon and Rye Bay, the Guardian newspaper reports.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the situation was “alarming.” He added that he would work closely with French authorities to stop human trafficking across the channel. A criminal investigation is now underway.

Those who choose to make this dangerous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world are putting their lives in grave danger — and I will continue to do all I can to stop them, Javid said, commenting the situation during the weekend.

Italy accepts imposed by Sea-Watch migrants

Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini said that children and those with malaise on Sea-Watch vessel were permitted to enter Italy,but the absolute ban remains on the Sea Watch 3 against entering our territorial waters.”

Italy has allowed migrant families rescued at sea by the NGO group Sea-Watch, transporting illegal migrants from Libyan coasts to Europe, to be transferred to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, but is refusing landfall to others.

Sea-Watch says the 18 migrants taken to Lampedusa were mostly families and an injured woman. However, according tot he Sea-Watch there are still migrants, remaining on board, they call them “guests” in a blunt denial of the reality, of illegal migration.

Previously Matteo Salvini reiterated that his government will not allow any of NGO’s search-and-rescue ships to dock. The statement has been made after a vessel exploited by Sea-Watch collected 65 migrants off the Libyan coast this week.

First they were in Libyan waters, then in Maltese waters,” Salvini underlined.
Putting the lives of the migrants on board at risk,  they want to reach Italy at all costs” he continued. “These people are not rescuers, they are human traffickers and they will be treated as such”.
Italy’s ports are closed and will remain closed for traffickers of human beings“, the Minister concluded.

AMENDED: On Sunday the smuggles has celebrated one more victory: all the illegal migrants from Libya were hosted in Italy.

Kurz regards Egypt as key partner in defeating human trafficking

Salzburg – After the Salzburg summit, the EU intends to deepen its migration cooperation with Egypt and other African countries. President of the European Council Donald Tusk said there was agreement to hold a summit with the Arab League in Egypt in February. On Thursday, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) described Egypt as exemplary in the fight against illegal migration and smuggling.

Kurz added that it was also the EU’s wish to have a dialogue with Egypt on economic development. Tusk also said that – in the end – the intention was to have “a broader partnership”. He planned to advance those ideas as early as this Sunday at a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in New York.

According to Sebastian Kurz, Egypt was not in favour of refugee centres. The country was, however, “very efficient in its fight against illegal migration”. In the past two years, no more refugee ships from Egypt had reached Europe. The Federal Chancellor also regarded the “disembarkation platforms” for migrants, decided by the EU last June and rejected by Egypt, as not necessary. The decisive point in this issue was to make sure that as few people as possible set out illegally from Northern Africa to Europe.

Sebastian Kurz continued by saying that nowadays hardly any rescue operations took place in the EU coastal area, with the operations happening close to the African coast. The legal obligation to bring people to Europe only arose once those people entered European coastal waters. He supported Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, in his criticism of the current practice of rescuing refugees. “Nobody can say that this policy has saved lives”, Chancellor Kurz declared. “A new system is needed”, which could be initiated by strong partners in Africa. Three years ago one would have been denounced as right-wing or a right-wing radical for uttering such ideas, said Sebastian Kurz.

Channel human smuggler arrested in UK

A suspect wanted by Antwerp’s authorities for his connection with an alleged people smuggling network was arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency in close cooperation with Belgian law enforcement.

British national Saman Sdiq (33) was arrested at his home address in the UK  September, 17. He is suspected of providing vehicles from the UK to the criminal network of which several other alleged members have already been arrested and are in custody in Belgium.

Authorities believe the network collected migrants around Calais and took them into Belgium, before loading them into lorries near the town of Postel, near the Dutch-Belgian border. From there they transported migrants across the Channel.

Belgian prosecutors believe they have identified more than 15 attempts to smuggle illegal migrants between November 2017 and April 2018. On a number of occasions illegals, including minors and young children, were found hidden in the cargo space of the trucks.

 “Belgium and the UK stand firm on stamping out this sort of crime and the horrendous ill-treatment of the vulnerable. The condition in which smuggled migrants are made to travel long distances is appalling. We will continue to find those responsible and punish them” – said British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose.

 

 

EU adopts new strategy to defeat human trafficking

“In order to definitively break the business model of the smugglers, thus preventing tragic loss of life, it is necessary to eliminate the incentive to embark on perilous journeys. This requires a new approach based on shared or complementary actions among the Member States to the disembarkation of those who are saved in Search and Rescue operations” – the conclusions of the European Council say.

“In that context, the European Council calls on the Council and the Commission to swiftly explore the concept of regional disembarkation platforms, in close cooperation with relevant third countries as well as UNHCR and IOM. Such platforms should operate distinguishing individual situations, in full respect of international law and without creating a pull factor”, – the conclusions continue.

This week in Brussels the European leaders adopted a new set of measures to meet the challenge of illegal mass migration, and defeat human trafficking, luring people to risk their lives in Mediterranean.

A special attention is give to the efforts to stop smugglers operating out of Libya:
” It will step up its support for the Sahel region, the Libyan Coastguard, coastal and Southern communities, humane reception conditions, voluntary humanitarian returns, cooperation with other countries of origin and transit, as well
as voluntary resettlement”.

There is a special reference to NGO vessels, obliging them to respect the legislation, avoiding obstruction of EU efforts to guard external borders: “All vessels operating in the Mediterranean must respect the applicable laws and not obstruct operations of the Libyan Coastguard”.

Lifeline crew accused of piracy and human trafficking

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini warns about the arrest of the crew, and NGO vessel Lifeline transporting over two hundred illegal migrants from Libyan coasts to Italy, accusing them of piracy.

Formally Salvini is difficult to reproach. Acting within the international regulations,  Salvini orders stay in line with the UN frame document – the Law of Sea 1982, indicating that a  sovereign state is in its right to to establish and practise legislation over its aquatorium, similar way as over its territorium. The Law gives unequivocal powers to a state to fight illegal migration, and repel any vessel, suspected in migrant trafficking.

On contrary the Lifeline vessel has hardly any legitimacy after Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli accused it of “operating in Libyan waters outside all rules, outside international law” amid confusion over where the ship was de jure  registered.

This week the Netherlands denied reports that the Lifeline and another NGO-run migrant-rescue ship, the Seefuchs, are sailing under Dutch flags. “The Seefuchs and Lifeline are not sailing under Dutch flag as per UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) flag state responsibility,” the Netherlands representation at the EU said via Twitter.

In response Mission Lifeline confirmed in a tweet that its ship has been registered in the Netherlands since September 2017, attaching a photograph of the registration document to show it. It also said the rescue operation took place in international waters.

Amid clarifications Salvini informed that for “the safety of the crew and passengers Italy had asked Malta to open its ports for Lifeline vessel.

It is clear that the ship will then have to be impounded and the crew members arrested. No more trafficking by sea,” Salvini underlined.

Valletta accused the Lifeline crew of ignoring Italian instructions, and denied any responsibility for the mission, but made a gesture of goodwill, offering humanitarian supplies to illegal migrants.

Swedish city votes for ‘begging licence’

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan LĂśfven assessed the decision of Eskilstuna Council to introduce an obligatory  begging licence “interesting”.
Eskilstuna city council has voted for an obligatory licence for “passive” begging in the streets. The regulation was voted in by a majority coalition between the Social Democrats, Moderates and Centre Party in the council of Eskilstuna, a city west of Stockholm. The nationalist Sweden Democrats has agreed to the move, which was opposed by the Left Party, Green Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats.
The council’s chair Jimmy Jansson said the permit requirement was a way of better regulating begging with the aim of helping those living in hardship, rather than banning the practice.

It could help people “come into contact with  charity Stadsmissionen or other charitable organizations, or getting help to travel home again,” Jansson underlined.

The begging came to Sweden with a wave of migrants, and has become a business already back in 2010, however it has grown last years it became widespread, hardly leaving any supermarket entrance with a ‘professional’ beggar.

In Sweden, as well as in the other EU countries, ‘professional’ beggars  are often victims of forced begging, related to human trafficking. The decision of the Swedish city Council is in the line with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) encouraging safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.