While there have been numerous headlines and stories that have come out of the immigrant crisis over the past year and a half, one recent revelation is particularly disturbing.
Migrants traveling from Africa to Europe who are unable to pay smugglers for their journey are being sold and killed for their organs the Independent reports.
Nuredein Wehabrebi Atta, a people smuggler who has been sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in moving migrants, told Italian police that migrants who couldn't pay for journeys across the Mediterranean "were sold for €15,000 to groups, particularly Egyptians, who are equipped for harvesting organs."
Atta's testimony helped break open a transnational network dedicated to migrant trafficking with Italian police confirming they have detained 38 people suspected of being involved: 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and one Italian. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the group used Rome for its financial transactions hub, and the arrests have dealt a "harsh blow" to the criminal network.
Atta had been granted witness protection in Italy in exchange for a confession, and an Eritrean man arrested in 2014 had collaborated with authorities in order to provide for the first time a complete picture of the trafficking operations.
From the Independent
Palermo police said in a statement that an Eritrean man who was arrested in 2014 collaborated with authorities, providing for the first time "a complete reconstruction of criminal activities" of migrant trafficking involving operations both in North Africa and Italy.
Mr Atta is the first foreigner to be granted witness protection in Italy. He said the shocking number of deaths among migrants attempting to cross the sea is what led him to confess, specifically the death of 360 due to a boat sinking in Lampedusa, though he said he was not involved in the incident.
"The deaths that we were aware of were a small part of it," Mr Atta told police, according to local media. "In Eritrea alone there have been victims in eight out of 10 families."
He said that migrants who can not afford to pay the smugglers are then sold to organ traffickers.
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The number of refugees displaced by conflict was estimated to have reached a global total of 65 million, a record high, at the end of 2015. Sadly, much of this crisis (if not all) is driven by countries such as the United States meddling in other people's affairs and creating an even worse situation than was previously the case. Unfortunately, we don't believe this will cease being the case any time soon.