The perverse pairing between the Libyan mafias of human trafficking and NGOs

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The mafias that earn millions of euros annually at the cost of human trafficking adapt to the circumstances and use the usual routes according to local conditions in each country and the results of success in the arrival at the European destination of their victims. Therefore, the situation of chaos in Libya and the reception in several European countries of the migrants collected by the Open Arms and Ocean Viking ships reinforces the effectiveness of the mafias that can sell their services in the market to attract new customers that they will charge plus.

The price paid by migrants from, mostly from African countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea Conakry, among others, is around 4,000 euros. It depends on the time of year and the state of the sea, in summer the waters are calmer and the high risk of shipwrecking in the precarious boats they use is reduced. It also depends on the expenses that these criminal organizations have to face, that is, the amount of bribes they have to pay to the right people, too many related to local authorities, even with the coastguards or as is the case in Niger, with the Army.

More profitable than the drug
Trafficking in human beings, which has become more profitable than drug trafficking itself, moves across the Mediterranean, according to the last UN report published last year, about 7,000 million dollars. Just take the account: boats for 30 people are used for 120, crammed, standing, and almost unable to move for hours. At 4,000 euros per head, it gives 480,000 euros per trip.

It is paid in two parts: the first 2,000 euros to take them from their country of origin to the ports of Libya and the other 2,000 to move them to European port, in an offshore mothership, and then in small boats that launch into the sea in a point located by GPS where they can be picked up by the rescue boats of the NGOs, from the European marinas when there was Operation Sofia or, even, by merchants, fishing or recreational. If they do not find this type of boats in the area, they make a distress call with a satellite telephone with the coordinates.

Migrants have no claim option, on the contrary, if the trip is frustrated and they are returned to their countries, they try again when they and their families have collected the money. And several thousand have not even had that opportunity because they have lost their lives. However, the mafias always have available candidates driven by the situation of poverty, misery and conflicts in their countries of origin. With that turnover, there is no problem in paying the corresponding bribes in each place. In Libya, the mafias are protected and consented to by the various armed militias, among them the Islamists and terrorist groups such as Daesh, who find in this nefarious business, one of their main means of financing.

According to reports from the Spanish Police, Nigeria and Libya are the established bases of immigration mafias, with ramifications in other countries, where Sudanese mercenaries act unscrupulously. The control of the other three routes: Western Mediterranean, West African and Turkey, Greece and the Balkans favors the route of the Central Mediterranean through Libya more dangerous because in the waiting time or in the time they must work to collect the 2,000 euros of the Second payments are subject to abuse, harassment, violence, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, rape or even falling into mafias that enslave them labor or sexually, according to the UN report.

African networks
Mafia traffic and trafficking networks, more active and more dangerous, in Central Africa are cross-border. Although every corner of the world retains its specificities, the human traffic mafias analyzed by the UN reflect some common patterns. All of them have recruitment agents from the main groups that are victims of extortion. They act as client collectors, jackals, and trade with their life and destiny. A second level is that of the local mafias, who know the land and generally pay the collectors. One more step is that of small-scale service providers: trucks, boats and other means of transport. The most dangerous level is that of the big international mafias, who control the entire process and also add links to large international crime groups and use immigrants as a way to earn money quickly and easily. Infrastructures built for the exploitation of the mineral resources of the desert, oil in Libya and uranium in Niger, facilitate trips through the desert.

In North Africa they have their point of convergence in Agadez, a town north of Niger, or in Sehba, south of Libya, where control is exercised by heavily armed tribal groups. From that point of confluence of immigrants from the rest of Africa, and even Asians from Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan, among others, who mainly arrive to the African continent, they are transferred to the coastal cities of the Tripolitana region, Ziwara or Sabratah, about 500 kilometers east of the Libyan capital. They are more or less peaceful places where trips are negotiated and where part of the population collaborates with their garages as a temporary shelter at an abusive but obligatory price for those who see the end of their nightmare nearby. Construction, agriculture or work on anything to make money. The boats used are manufactured in Libya and the fishermen always have on board some drum of gasoline, pure gold for the weak boats of the new slaves of the 21st century. In Libya, each link in the chain receives its corresponding commission, especially those who seek protection and security, from militias to corrupt authorities. .

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