Immigration: 'Traffickers alert Italy on boats' arrivals'

Ex-British Frontex official tells Telegraph

16 April, 12:32

    (ANSAmed) - LONDON, APRIL 16 - Criminal organizations managing human trafficking rings in the Mediterranean alert Italian authorities ahead of the arrival of vessels packed with immigrants, Britain's Graham Leese, a former special consultant for EU border agency Frontex, told the daily Telegraph. In the interview, Leeese alleged that traffickers don't put as much fuel as they used to on boats as they know migrants will be rescued.

    Leese said he agreed with Britain's criticism of Italy's now-defunct rescue-and-surveillance operation Mare Nostrum, claiming it lead to more migrants endangering their lives in the Mediterranean. According to the former Frontex official, human traffickers in Libya are aware of the fact that Italian authorities have allocated more boats for rescue operations and take advantage of that.

    He claimed many of the migrants interviewed after their arrival had made such a claim, as had his sources. He said he had started hearing such allegations once Mare Nostrum kicked off when smugglers in Libya realized more ships had been made available for rescue operations. The Mare Nostrum mission was launched after two boat disasters killed about 400 people in October 2013 . The mission was terminated at the end of last year and replaced by the EU-coordinated Triton operation. (ANSAmed).

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