Italian television program Matrix has shown footage of what they claim is of members of the pro-migrant rescue NGO Save the Children cooperating with people traffickers.
The television programme, which is hosted on Italian network Canale 5, released the footage which shows what they claim are people smugglers helping a large wooden boat of migrants get to the ship chartered by Save the Children, the Vos Hestia, off the coast of Libya.
The migrants on the boat appear to be clearly Sub-Saharan African, contrasted by the alleged people smugglers who appear to be North African or Arabic. The footage shows one of the men of North African appearance physically beating the individuals on the boat before they are taken to the NGO vessel.
The footage is similar to a case brought against the German NGO Jugend Rettet by the Italian government who are investigating the group for alleged connections to people traffickers. The Italians confiscated their vessel, the Iuventa, in August.
The Italian authorities later released pictures which they claimed was evidence of the NGO workers working with the people smugglers.
The Trapani prosecutor’s office has confirmed it is investigating Marco Amato, commander of the Vos Hestia, for people smuggling, according to Italian newspaper Giornale Di Sicilia.
Save the Children is one of the few migrant rescue NGOs to continue operations after the Libyan coastguard began confronting other vessels, and the Italian government introduced a stricter code of conduct on NGO ships in exchange for permission to use Italian ports.
Whilst many have credited the Italians and the Libyans for greatly reducing the flow of migrants from Libya and North Africa, others have claimed that the real reason the flow of individuals has stopped is due to the Italians paying off former people smugglers.
Some have alleged that Libyan warlord Ahmed Dabaschi, also known as “al-Ammu” (“the uncle”) and his militia in the Libyan port city of Sabratha has been receiving money from the Italians to prevent boats from leaving the country.