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‘Charities’ Bringing Boat Migrants to Europe ‘Colluding’ with People Smugglers, Says Prosecutor

Charities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating rescue missions in the Mediterranean are “colluding” with criminal people-smugglers to bring migrants to Europe, according to Italian authorities.

Prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro told La Stampa that phone calls were being made from Libya to NGO vessels offshore, helping smugglers complete the final leg of the journey in a billion-dollar European smuggling operation.

“We have evidence that there are direct contacts between certain NGOs [non-governmental organisations] and people traffickers in Libya,” Zuccaro said, claiming the ships were shining lights to help guide the smugglers’ dangerous boats and disabling responders to hide migrant activity at sea from the authorities.

After their rescue missions are completed, the NGO ships go a considerable distance out of their way to bring their passengers to Europe rather than safe ports in nearby North Africa. European Union Border Agency (Frontex) chief Fabrice Leggeri has accused them of acting “like taxis” for illegal migrants.