“Rich Smuggling Trade Fuels Deadly Migration Across Mediterrean,” by Matina Stevis for the Wall Street Journal:
The deaths of more than 1,000 Italy-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in the last week are the product of a multi-million-dollar people-smuggling enterprise run by Libyan militias, tribesmen and bandits, law-enforcement officials and migrant-aid groups say.
Authorities in the European Union on Monday pledged to step up efforts to crack down on a well-oiled and increasingly brazen business of putting desperate people on rickety boats and setting them afloat on the deadliest migrant route in the world. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni called for international support “to fight against these traffickers of human beings, this new slavery of the 21st century.”
But the economic collapse of Libya and the race by militias and tribes to find sources of money to fuel conflict there greatly complicates any effort from European authorities to make meaningful headway in stanching the trade, say officials in both Libya and Europe, even as Italian authorities announced the detention of the captain and a crew member of the ship that sank on the weekend, causing as many as 700 deaths…