migrant trafficking

If any country understands human mobility, it is Ecuador, because it itself has produced many people that have left and started to live in other countries and all these people also fall under the new Organic Law of Human Mobility, which establishes rights and obligations for migrants, immigrants, persons in transit, those who require international protection and victims of crimes of human trafficking and illegal migrant trafficking. People have the right to be treated with dignity, to have security, education, to work with dignity, to live with dignity, health. That is the meaning of not being illegal. You can’t penalize someone who is fleeing to save their life or for not having a passport. In Ecuador, there are no refugee camps, people are integrated. I met a group of Afro-Ecuadorean and Afro-Colombian women that had created an association and started their own business of selling textiles and clothes, and they were such a success that they were giving jobs to other Ecuadoreans. Those are the stories that move you.
—  Irene van Rij, head of UNHCR’s Field Office in Guayaquil, Ecuador
Almost 1,500 Migrant Children Placed in Homes by the U.S. Government Went Missing Last Year
(26 April 2018) From October to December 2017, HHS called 7,635 children the agency had placed with sponsors, and found 6,075 of the children were still living with their sponsors, 28 had run away, five had been deported and 52 were living with someone else. The rest were missing, said Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary at HHS. “These kids, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to be treated properly, not abused or trafficked,” said Portman, who chairs the subcommittee. “This is all about accountability.”

(reddit comments)

NYT: Federal Agencies Lost Track of Nearly 1,500 Migrant Children Placed With Sponsors
The Department of Health and Human Services learned of the missing children only after calling people who took responsibility for the youths when they were released from government custody.

The Department of Health and Human Services has lost track of almost 1,500 migrant children who came to the US unaccompanied by a parent or adult. This means that it is uncertain where those children are now, whether they are safe or sold through human trafficking.

This is a disgrace to a country that has a responsibility to those within its borders, documented or no. HHS needs to keep the children in its custody safe and to ensure that these children are safe when they enter the care of their sponsors. We should be ashamed that the United States is failing people on such a horrific level.

Mare Nostrum (Latin for “Our Sea”) was a Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea. In the years following the unification of Italy in 1861, the term was revived by Italian nationalists who believed that Italy was the successor state to the Roman Empire. The term originally was used by Romans to refer to the Tyrrhenian Sea, following their conquest of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica during the Punic Wars with Carthage. By 30 BC, Roman domination extended from the Iberian Peninsula to Egypt, and Mare Nostrum began to be used in the context of the whole Mediterranean Sea. The rise of Italian nationalism during the “Scramble for Africa” of the 1880s led to calls for the establishment of an Italian colonial empire. The phrase was revived by the Italian poet Gabriele d'Annunzio. 

The term was then again used by Benito Mussolini in fascist propaganda, in a similar manner to Adolf Hitler’s concept of “Lebensraum”. Mussolini wanted to re-establish the greatness of the Roman Empire and believed that Italy was the most powerful of the Mediterranean countries after WW1. He declared that “the twentieth century will be a century of Italian power” and created one of the most powerful navies of the world in order to control the Mediterranean Sea. When WW2 started Italy was already a major Mediterranean power that controlled the north and south shores of the central basin. After the fall of France removed the main threat from the west, the British Mediterranean Fleet, with bases in UK-controlled Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Egypt, and Palestine remained the only threat to Italian naval power in the Mediterranean. The invasions of Albania, Greece, and Egypt, and the Siege of Malta sought to extend Axis control over the Sea. Mussolini dreamed of creating an Imperial Italy in his “Mare Nostrum” and promoted the fascist project - to be realized in a future peace conference after the anticipated Axis victory - of an enlarged Italian Empire, stretching from the Mediterranean shores of Egypt to the Indian Ocean shores of Somalia and eastern Kenya. He referred to making the Mediterranean Sea “an Italian lake”. This aim, however, was challenged throughout the campaign by the Allied navies at sea and the Allied armies and resistance movements on land. For example, Greece had easily been incorporated into the Roman Empire, but the new Greek state proved to be too powerful for Italian conquest, and Greece remained independent until German forces arrived to assist the Italian invasion. Despite periods of Axis ascendancy during the Battle of the Mediterranean it was never realized, and ended altogether with the final Italian defeat of September 1943. 

Following the 2013 Lampedusa migrant shipwreck, the Italian government, has decided to strengthen the national system for the patrolling of the Mediterranean Sea by authorizing “Operation Mare Nostrum”, a military and humanitarian operation in order to rescue the migrants and arrest the traffickers of immigrants.


In This World | 2002 | Michael Winterbottom | United Kingdom

Being an immigrant myself, I’m still crying for the drowned little Syrian child of last week. Aylan, you little angel, you might not be in this world anymore but your sacrifice will forever be remembered.

RIP Aylan Kurdi.

#UPDATE: Indonesia and Malaysia agree to provide refuge for the 7,000 to 8,000 Rohingya migrants still stranded at sea, many of them women and children.

Read the article here.

The crisis began last week when boats of fleeing Rohingya migrants from Myanmar were literally pushed back into the water when attempting to land in neighboring countries.

LIKE to thank the Southeast Asian countries for upholding the right to asylum of some of Southeast Asia’s most vulnerable people.


Don’t forget the Rohingya’s

Analysis: Jonathan Head, BBC News, Bangkok

By and large the humanitarian groups got what they wanted, as the meeting ended with promises to improve the search for stranded boats.

Dealing with the causes of the migrant exodus was trickier.

Everyone knew the dire treatment of Rohingya Muslims is what drove so many of them to flee. But Myanmar still insists they are illegal incomers from Bangladesh.

One million of them remain stateless, with Myanmar making no apology for segregating and restricting them; a kind of Asian apartheid.

There was an awkward moment when the UNHCR delegate insisted the Rohingya problem must be addressed, though even he avoided using the term Rohingya, something Myanmar won’t accept.

The Burmese delegation responded by denouncing “finger-pointing”. The problem, it said, was criminal trafficking gangs, not Burmese policies. Changing attitudes in Myanmar will be a tough long-term challenge.

On Friday it said it had picked up a boat with 727 migrants on board - just a week after it picked up about 200 in its first such operation. The Myanmar government has the boat under the supervision of the navy. Media isn’t allowed near the boats.

Asia’s migrant crisis

  • Rohingya Muslims mainly live in Myanmar, where they have faced decades of persecution.
  • Rights groups say migrants feel they have “no choice” but to leave, paying people smugglers to help them.
  • The UN estimates more than 120,000 Rohingya have fled in the past three years.
  • Traffickers usually take the migrants by sea to Thailand then overland to Malaysia.
  • But Thailand recently began cracking down on the migrant routes, meaning traffickers are using sea routes instead.


Please keep the Rohingya’s in your prayer’s. 

I’m going to make a donation post soon inshallah. Please raise awareness!

“Through vivid microhistories, Japan’s Imperial Underworlds redraws the social and political boundaries of empire in modern East Asia. Ambaras deftly reveals how the movement of migrants, smugglers, pirates, and trafficked people between China and Japan - and their sensationalization in the popular press - created surprising cross-currents in the politics of Sino-Japanese relations during the years of Japanese imperial expansion.”

MALAYSIA, Kampung Tualang : A Malaysian Muslim man sits near a pit during the re-burial of remains believed to be those of ethnic Rohingya found at human-trafficking camps in the country’s north, at Kampung Tualang some 16kms east of Alor Setar on June 22, 2015. Malaysian authorities on June 22 held a sombre mass funeral for 21 suspected ethnic Rohingya found in human-trafficking graves last month, with fellow Muslims praying for the unidentified victims to find a place in heaven.  AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA

The darker your skin - the further down you go: The hierarchical system aboard Italy's migrant boats that governs who lives and who dies

The ruthless human traffickers charging desperate migrants up to £1,300 each to cross the Mediterranean are separating passengers according to race and locking Africans below deck, it has emerged.

More than 1,700 people have died making the perilous voyage in the past week alone and those who survive have told of unimaginable horrors on ships, including starvation, beatings and murders.

Teenagers arriving in the Italian port of Lampedusa told workers from Save the Children how migrants from sub-Saharan African countries were often kept below the deck, deprived of water and sunlight.

A teenage boy from Somalia said he wanted to be called Ali, after his friend who was pushed into the sea alongside other passengers.

“The Libyans who got me to Italy are not human,” he said. “They speak with the gun not with words…they pushed eight Nigerians into the sea.

“And they pushed my friend into the sea. They all drowned.”

Ali survived the trip alongside 400 others, telling how he was crammed below the deck with no windows.

“They didn’t give us water otherwise we would have to go to the toilet,” he said.

“There is no toilet on the boat. If you were sick or went up a level to get air the traffickers would shoot you.”

Ibrahim, a 17-year-old boy from Somalia, was also forced below the deck.

“My boat had about 150 people on it,” he said. “The Somalis were put on the bottom level and other nationalities could go on the top level.” He had paid £1,300 for the journey.

Yusuf, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy

who reached Italy in February after fleeing Gaza, said he was put on an upper level with other people from the Middle East.

“There were about 250 people in the boat, it had two levels and some Africans were put below,” he added.

“The traffickers had guns and if you talked they said they would throw you overboard or shoot you. They always threatened us with their guns.”

A spokesperson for Save the Children said that many migrants helped by their workers had told similar stories of different races being split up, with the lighter-skinned appearing to receive marginally better treatment.

“What we hear from numerous migrants arriving in Italy is that migrants from African countries are often treated worse than Middle Eastern or Asian passengers,” she said.

“They are often forced to stay in the hold, where they are at greater risk of drowning if the boat capsizes and can become ill from breathing in the petrol fumes.

“Partly this is because African migrants - from countries like Eritrea and Somalia often - are not able to pay as much as others, and partly we think simply because of racism on the part of the people smugglers.”

In July last year, around 100 migrants were massacred by traffickers after they tried to escape a locked hold as fumes spread from the boat’s engine.

As the poisonous gas spread below deck, panic started and the passengers managed to force open the door, only to be met by traffickers armed with knives who started massacring them and throwing them into the sea.

Five men stabbed and assaulted passengers at random and threw them overboard, telling others not to react or they would suffer the same fate, police said.

Approximately 60 of the migrants were attacked and their bodies dumped, while around 50 are thought to have been thrown directly into the sea to drown.

Eighteen migrants were found dead in a tangled mass of bodies in the hull after succumbing to the fumes.

Survivors who were taken off the ship by Italian and Maltese authorities were described as dominantly Syrian and reports at the time said the dead migrants were “African”.

The five men arrested for their murders were from Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Morocco.

Many of the estimated 900 migrants who drowned after a ship sailing from Libya capsized on Sunday had also been locked below the deck, according to a survivor.

The 32-year-old Bangladeshi man said he only lived because he was on an upper level of the vessel.

“I and the others managed to survive because we were outside, but many of the others remained prisoners in the hold of the boat because the traffickers had locked them in and they finished at the bottom of the sea,” he said.

Authorities, who have charged the Tunisian captain with reckless mass homicide, have not said how those migrants were divided up but they believe that the rush to escape after the boat collided with a container ship contributed to it capsizing.

The disaster came amid calls for action over rising numbers of deaths during voyages to Italy that have killed an estimated 1,700 people in the last week alone.

The crisis has sparked an emergency summit by European Union leaders to crack down on human trafficking and aid Italy’s rescue missions.

Even with migrants crossing the Mediterranean, there is a hierarchical system, and Black Africans are on the bottom. Figuratively and literally.