Wherever You Go, There You've Been Trafficked

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Last year, when hundreds of immigrants were arrested in Arizona for the felony of smuggling themselves into the country, I thought perhaps I'd seen the worst possible abuse of the much-abused phrase "human trafficking." After reading this excellent piece on African resentment toward Europe, I'm not so sure:

Outrage over the number of Africans who die while trying to reach Europe by boat, when all other routes of legal immigration are blocked by law, continues unabated. In the course of 2007, some 1,861 migrants died trying to cross into Europe by sea, according to the Italian monitoring organization Fortress Europe. This is only a slight improvement upon 2006, when the number of known deaths was 2,088.

Yet no European government feels compelled to act to save these lives. Fishermen from Tunisia and Italy have even been prosecuted for abetting "human trafficking" because they rescued migrants at sea.

To recap: If you move across an international border without permission, you are trafficking yourself. If you try to save someone who intends to move across an international border without permission, you are trafficking that person.

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  1. It’s March 7th. Way too early for April Fools jokes, guys.

  2. This happens in Spain all the time. Bodies washing up on southern beaches every week.

    That quote from Sarko is one for the ages. How insanely condescending.

  3. The charges of facilitating illegal immigration relate to the prosecution’s assertion, based on the absence of nets or ice for chilling the catch on board, that the fishing boats were in fact “mother ships” involved in migrant smuggling networks, responsible for carrying the migrants in international waters before disembarking them into smaller vessels (that have not been found) nearer to the island. The disappearance of the dinghy, a vessel that, it is argued, does not normally sink, is a further element in the reconstruction on which the charges are based.

    So, no, they weren’t arrested for saving people. They were arrested because the authorities don’t think that’s what happened.

  4. Perhaps they should try another path, like sailing/rowing across the Suez on their way to Europe?

  5. The defendants claim that they were on a duly authorised fishing expedition in international waters in which their role consisted in lighting the sea bottom to help another vessel to drag its nets, and that the dinghy sunk as it filled with water as its passengers climbed onto the fishing boats.

    Jesus joe, quote the whole fucking story next time.

  6. You didn’t quote the whole story either, kinnath.

    I get grumpy when I’m being played for a sucker, too. Do try to take that out on the correct party.

    Because the bottom line here is that Kerry passed off the arrest as being “for rescuing migrants at sea,” and that is not what they were arrested for.

  7. Criminalising solidarity, part II
    Italy/Tunisia: Fishermen on trial for rescuing migrants

    ——————————————————————————–
    The trial of seven Tunisian fishermen began in Agrigento (Sicily) on 22 August 2007, two weeks after their two fishing boats rescued passengers from a dinghy in distress carrying 44 migrants in international waters around 40 miles south of the Pelagian islands (Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampione) that had sent out an SOS on 8 August.

    According to the testimony in court of a Moroccan man who was rescued, the Mortadha and Mohammed el-Hedi intervened when the passengers had been without food for days, with a two-year-old child crying constantly, two other children including one who was spastic, a pregnant woman who lay on the deck, in a dinghy whose front had deflated and had been held up by passengers while the engine drove them forward. They switched the engine off while requesting assistance, which was denied by several other boats. The crews and captains, who acted in accordance with the law of the sea that demands that everything possible be done to rescue vessels in distress, were arrested on arrival and face charges of assisting illegal immigration for profit, an offence that carries a prison sentence of between one and 15 years, after fast-track judicial proceedings were initiated. On 10 September, the fishermen were released from custody, and the captains of the two vessels were placed under house arrest in a nearby reception centre in Licata. Court hearings are scheduled to resume on 20 September.

    In spite of the boats being closer to Lampedusa than to Tunisia, the port authority did not authorise their entry into Italy, ordering them to turn back towards the north African country, although they had been previously ordered to head into Italian waters to allow inspection. A doctor had boarded the fishing boats in Italian territorial waters to inspect the passengers and certify that none of them were in particularly serious conditions, so as to exclude the possibility of them docking in the port of Lampedusa due to a “state of necessity”. The captains disobeyed, taking them into the port as it was closer, apparently also because the sea was rough, resulting in their arrest and that of the five crew members on arrival, and in the seizure of the boats, caught in the act of breaching the prohibition to dock. Four of the passengers were carried to a hospital in Palermo by helicopter.

    The charges of facilitating illegal immigration relate to the prosecution’s assertion, based on the absence of nets or ice for chilling the catch on board, that the fishing boats were in fact “mother ships” involved in migrant smuggling networks, responsible for carrying the migrants in international waters before disembarking them into smaller vessels (that have not been found) nearer to the island. The disappearance of the dinghy, a vessel that, it is argued, does not normally sink, is a further element in the reconstruction on which the charges are based. The defendants claim that they were on a duly authorised fishing expedition in international waters in which their role consisted in lighting the sea bottom to help another vessel to drag its nets, and that the dinghy sunk as it filled with water as its passengers climbed onto the fishing boats.

    There was a strong mobilisation in support of the Tunisian defendants among associations active in the field of immigration and MEPs, with 103 of them signing a request for their release and a delegation travelling to Agrigento to express their solidarity during a demonstration on 7 September.

    In a legal analysis of the incident, Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo of Palermo University highlighted some concerns raised by the incident. Firstly, he notes that the incident is not isolated, referring back to a precedent in late June of this year involving the rescue of 23 shipwreck victims (five people drowned in the incident according to the rescued migrants) holding onto its tuna cages in international waters between Libya and Malta by the Icelandic trawler Eyborg, which was ordered to transport them to Misurata in Libya. The captain refused to do so in spite of having been threatened with arrest, arguing that Libya was not a safe destination for Erithrean asylum seekers, a view supported by reports of the detention and repatriation of Erithreans (there were also Ethiopians, Nigerians and Somalis) by Libya. Malta eventually accepted to take charge of the shipwreck victims after pressure from different EU states and a promise that the burden would be shared between different states, and the captain was not arrested.

    In reference to the inspection by a doctor (above), Paleologo notes that the duty of rescue at sea and the prohibition of refoulement do not depend on the migrants’ health conditions when they enter territorial waters, and that involvement in “humanitarian” rescue and assistance to migrants in need are expressly excluded from being construed as criminal offences by the Italian immigration law. Legal doctrine has also established that the state has a duty to co-operate in the finalisation of sea rescues, “allowing shipwreck victims to disembark” irrespective of its power to pursue people facilitating illegal immigration or to adopt measures against illegal migrants, with due guarantees.

    The analysis also notes that the police reconstruction ignores the fact that were potential asylum seekers among the shipwreck victims, including Erithreans, and that returning them to Libya or Tunisia may have resulted in their repatriation and in the violation of the principle of non-refoulement contained in the Geneva Convention and of guarantees in the Italian constitution, among others, and that the duty of rescue and assistance not only involves saving peoples’ lives at sea, but also to make them disembark in a “safe place”. Thus, Paleologo argues that if the reconstruction provided by the crew members is confirmed in court proceedings, the incident should not be liable to have any penal relevance.

    In spite of Tunisia’s formal adherence to the Geneva Convention on refugees and its apparent recognition by European border police forces as a “safe third country”, there have been reports of intercepted migrants being immediately detained in its 11 detention centres and subsequently expelled to neighbouring countries (including Libya) where they were likely to suffer ill-treatment. Fishermen are increasingly wary of intervening to save migrants in distress as a result of the risk of facing criminal charges and often limit themselves to informing military authorities. Cases in which military vessels have forced boats back to the region from which they set off have been documented, although an interministerial decree issued by the Berlusconi government in 2003 to make the practice of inspecting and escorting them back to their port of origin commonplace has largely remained unimplemented due to its contravening the international law of the sea (except for cases involving terrorism, piracy or environmental pollution) and to the Italian navy’s efforts to rescue vessels, described as “exemplary” by Paleologo.

    Sources

    “Lampedusa: salvarono naufraghi, oggi rischiano il carcere”, Fortress Europe 27.8.2007, and “Agrigento: scarcerati i pescatori tunisini; audizione a Strasburgo”, Fortress Europe, 10.9.2007, both available at: http://fortresseurope.blogspot.com;
    “Ancora sotto accusa chi salva la vita in mare”, 18.8.2007, in-depth analysis by F. Vassallo Paleologo, Palermo University and ASGI, available at: http://www.meltingpot.org/stampa10973.html .

    “Trial in Agrigento : No to the criminalisation of solidarity”, appeal, Migreurop website

    Previous Statewatch coverage
    Criminalising solidarity, part 1: Cap Anamur trial underway

    ——————————————————————————–
    Statewatch News online | Join Statewatch news e-mail list | EU research resources: Joint online subscription

    ? Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X.Material may be used providing the source is acknowledged. Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.

    Jesus, kinnath, feel better? Jesus.

    Jesus.

    Jesus.

  8. joe, don’t be a dick. Large posts like that are obnoxious. Just because you want to make a point doesn’t mean you should force people to scroll.

  9. Episiarch,

    Worked out fine. The DivaVillage ad ran the first three paragraphs.

  10. The charges of facilitating illegal immigration relate to the prosecution’s assertion, based on the absence of nets or ice for chilling the catch on board, that the fishing boats were in fact “mother ships” involved in migrant smuggling networks, responsible for carrying the migrants in international waters before disembarking them into smaller vessels (that have not been found) nearer to the island. The disappearance of the dinghy, a vessel that, it is argued, does not normally sink, is a further element in the reconstruction on which the charges are based. The defendants claim that they were on a duly authorised fishing expedition in international waters in which their role consisted in lighting the sea bottom to help another vessel to drag its nets, and that the dinghy sunk as it filled with water as its passengers climbed onto the fishing boats.

    Apologies to everyone else.

    joe, this paragraph summarizes the claims of both the prosecution and the defense. This is “the whole story”. It is not necessary to quote the entire article to understand the legal argument.

  11. …and since the motives of the prosecutors were the issue, I quoted the relevant section.

    jesus jesus jesus

  12. joe, your edit implied that Ms Howley had misrepresented the basic facts of the story. The part you left out supported her view of the case.

  13. Episiarch,

    I’m making a point of being as respectful as I am respected.

  14. No, kinnath, it didn’t.

    Here’s a crazy idea: how about you let ME tell YOU what I’m saying, instead of vice-versa?

  15. You could try quoting the full paragraph in italics for context then bolding the part you think shows Ms Howley is in error.

    You are familiar with the piece of HTML aren’t you?

  16. Or I could quote the sentence fragments. Or I could quote the entire story. Or I could quote the paragraph as a whole, and the preceding or succeeding paragraphs.

    None of these would require you to get your panties in a bunch.

  17. If you claim to be a fisherman, but don’t have the means to catch and store fish, that ought to make you a wee bit suspicious to the police…

  18. (When you have many illegal immigrants on your boat)

  19. Wow, this cat-fight in a Ms. Howley post is not turning out the way I had ever imagined.

  20. The “smaller vessels” that the fishing boat was, allegedly, passing them off to “have not been found.”

    Then again, the other fishing boat that they were allegedly lighting the bottom for seems not to have been found, either.

  21. Here’s a photo of a related incident:

  22. Kerry Howley is like those glazed-eyed liberals (as well as collaborateurs) who supported unilateral disarmament. There really is no difference: if her dream were realized, China and other strong, non-libertarian countries would fight each other over the territory of the former U.S.

    As for her current lightweight meanderings, one of the groups that puts out water for IllegalAliens has collaborated with the MexicanGovernment.

    One of the lawyers that sued AZ over their self-smuggling law has a series of links to the MexicanGovernment.

  23. And like most open borders libertarians, she forgets that immigrants do bring in foreign values with them, which is why a society that would be free, must make sure that the immigrants’ values are compatible with their own.

  24. Joe, your credulousness before the pathetic state case here is a little pathetic.

    It seems obvious to me that the reason criminal charges were pursued is because Italy is doing everything it can to discourage the landing of African refugees in Italian ports, to prevent asylum claims by brown people. They told these guys by radio to take the refugees to Tunisia instead, and were defied.

    Anyone with a lick of sense knows that this prosecution is due to that defiance, and that Italian officials have come up with a cockamamie story [sorry, “theory of the crime] to justify their vindictive prosecution.

  25. Oops, sorry about the redundancy in that first sentence there.

  26. Kerry Howley is like those glazed-eyed liberals (as well as collaborateurs) who supported unilateral disarmament.

    Click n Learn, OTOH, is one of those sharp-eyed and bushy-tailed, hard-hitting realists who know that the battle against open immigration must be fought and won on the field of…Asa Hutchison’s Wikipedia entry.

  27. Fluffy,

    Please point us to the part where I said that I believed the prosecutors.

    Here’s what I actually wrote:

    ,i>The “smaller vessels” that the fishing boat was, allegedly, passing them off to “have not been found.”

    Then again, the other fishing boat that they were allegedly lighting the bottom for seems not to have been found, either.

    One of us certainly is credulous about one side’s story.

    It ain’t me, babe.

  28. I can haz asylum?

    im in ur waterz breakin ur lawz

  29. So do Cuba refugees have immunity from human trafficking?

  30. So, no, they weren’t arrested for saving people. They were arrested because the authorities don’t think that’s what happened.

    Joe, here you are asserting that you think the state’s claim about the motivation for its prosecution is valid…

    I get grumpy when I’m being played for a sucker, too. Do try to take that out on the correct party.

    Because the bottom line here is that Kerry passed off the arrest as being “for rescuing migrants at sea,” and that is not what they were arrested for.

    And here you are claiming that Howley’s acceptance of the version of events put forth by the defense is somehow a lie designed to mislead.

    So yes – in order for your criticism of Howley to have any merit, you do in fact have to credulously swallow the prosecution claims and utterly dismiss those of the defense. Which is OK, since your posts in this thread demonstrate that you do both those things.

    Now, you may want to claim that Howley did the same thing in reverse, but unless Italy is on the Napoleonic system or something, she is [and we are] entitled to give the defense the benefit of the doubt.

  31. So do Cuba refugees have immunity from human trafficking?

    As long as they’re on Miami beach. In the water, it’s arrest time.

    It’s good that the Coast Guard has the free time to stop them. I mean, it’s not like there are a lot of very bad sailors out there needing rescue or anything.

  32. “Or I could quote the sentence fragments. Or I could quote the entire story. Or I could quote the paragraph as a whole, and the preceding or succeeding paragraphs.”

    Or you could do something productive with your life.

  33. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that this prosecution is due to that defiance, and that Italian officials have come up with a cockamamie story [sorry, “theory of the crime] to justify their vindictive prosecution.

    Fluffy-

    Notwithstanding that you’re saying “anyone with a lick of sense” to a fuckwit with the thinking capacity of a dung speck on the back of a goat’s anus, just tell joe that black people were harmed and you’re the side that the black people were on, and you really want to hate white people to join you, he’ll be right there with you. His 4:22 post shows he’s working that direction, he’ll be there soon enough, and then he’ll tell you that you were the one who went all over the map with no logical substance to any particular comment.

    joe, don’t be a dick.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaha!

    Thanks, Ep, I needed a laugh to close out the week with.

  34. There’s also the unexplained element of the story where other boats responded to the dinghy’s distress call and declined to take the people on board.

    It’s an odd way to set up a conspiracy to fake distress at sea – call other people first and get them to turn down your cries for help.

    Hey wait – maybe those other ships were also part of the conspiracy! They’re trying to put the authorities off the trail of these malefactors! Fresh indictments are warranted, don’t you think?

  35. “the back of a goat’s anus”

    Precisely what part of a goat’s anus constitutes “the back”?

  36. Jesus F. Christ folks. One side is lying. It doesn’t really matter.

    If you see people in distress at sea you are morally and legally required to assist.

    If somebody rescued is in need of medical attention you are morally (for certain) and legally (I suspect) obligated to take them to the nearest medical facility.

    If they are Africans and are closer to Europe when discovered, fuck ’em. That’s how I read it.

    Anybody read it differently? Multi-thousand word, copy and paste replies are not expected or desired.

  37. On a more tangible note, Kerry Howley’s dream would continue to allow anyone from “from a rough village in Mexico’s Guerrero State – an area that has a reputation for extreme lawlessness” to move here at will and starting shooting at cops with an AK-47.

  38. Fluffy,

    Joe, here you are asserting that you think the state’s claim about the motivation for its prosecution is valid… No, there I am stating the state’s claim. The assertion that I find it believable (not valid, that means something else) is all you.

    And here you are claiming that Howley’s acceptance of the version of events put forth by the defense is somehow a lie designed to mislead. No, there I am asserting that Howley misstated the state’s position.

    I hope this clears up your misapprehension.

  39. just tell joe that black people were harmed and you’re the side that the black people were on, and you really want to hate white people to join you, he’ll be right there with you.

    People who object to denuciations of racism HATE me, to the point of distraction.

    Like Other Matt.

    This is how I know I’m on the right track.

  40. Don’t be a douche, LoneWacko. Plenty of people in LA shoot at the cops with AK-47s.

  41. No, there I am stating the state’s claim. The assertion that I find it believable (not valid, that means something else) is all you.

    No.

    Howley’s representation of events is perfectly acceptable unless you accept that the state is being honest about why they are prosecuting these men.

    In other words, you have to believe that the prosecutors really believe in this conspiracy, and didn’t just come up with a specious theory of events because they’re pissed off that somebody ignored their commands and brought these brown people into an Italian port.

    You didn’t merely restate the state’s claim. You said it was the reason the arrests were made. This is not exactly the same thing.

    And no, it doesn’t have to be “believable”. It has to be true. Or at least sincere.

    No, there I am asserting that Howley misstated the state’s position.

    No, Howley evaluated the state’s claims and found them wanting, and editorialized that these guys were arrested because they rescued these people. And if their version of events is true, that’s exactly what happened.

  42. No, Fluffy. Last time: Howley stated, directly, that the crime these people were arrested for was to save people in distress at sea. Here If you try to save someone who intends to move across an international border without permission, you are trafficking that person.

    That is not the government’s case. The government provided a justification. Howley stated something else was their justification.

    That is the extent of what I wrote. Everything else, you read into it.

    I don’t know if you’re misreading what I wrote, or what she wrote, but hopefully, I’ve cleared it up for you.

  43. No, Howley evaluated the state’s claims and found them wanting,

    Really? Where?

  44. Episiarch: most of the issues raised in the LAWeekly story would be greatly mitigated were our laws enforced. Many of those involved wouldn’t be here, and a tighter labor supply would lead to better economic issues in the area, one with which I’m familiar since I used to live nearby.

    On the wider note, perhaps someone would like to help discredit Kerry Howley by asking her about cases like this, somewhat like the following:

    You support open borders, right?

    So, you’d let OBL move here then, right?

    Oh. OK, so you want to keep people who’d have a negative influence out. How do you intend to do that?

    OK, so far we’ve moved from you supporting open borders to, after seeing how that’s unsupportable, supporting some forms of control. Now, let’s move on. Are there non-criminals that could have a negative influence on the U.S., say, those who are committed Communists?

    …OK, what about those who’ll form a power base for far-left groups and foreign governments? Do you see a danger there?

    …So, you’re supporting letting foreign governments obtain PoliticalPower inside the U.S.?

    …OK, now we’re getting somewhere. You’ve switched from supporting open borders – here, let me play back the tape – to supporting something approaching BarbaraJordan’s findings. Congratulations!

  45. Oh cry me a river. If they don’t want to drown, they shouldn’t try to enter illegally via sea. The last thing europeans want in the EU welfare superstate is more african refugees. We’d far rather have legal antipodian, chinese, or indian immigration thank you very much. I fail to see what benefit there is to bringing poor, uneducated people, with clashing values into welfare states. Are we supposed to volunteer to lower our GDP per capita?

  46. Are we supposed to volunteer to lower our GDP per capita?

    Yes. Why else do you think the UN, and their enablers here in the US, wants to steal a percentage of US GDP?

  47. So do we have to take refugees from Massachusetts in Vermont?

    I mean, they don’t really have a right to come here, that’s a privilege granted by the state. Just like those brown folks wanting to move to Europe.

    Or is there a different moral principle involved here?

  48. People who object to denuciations of racism HATE me, to the point of distraction.

    Joe, self-loathing is a terrible thing, but you have taken the first step to healing by admitting that you HATE yourself. The way I figure it, you can either learn to love those who practice racism, or you can stop practising racism, and SHABAAM, you are healed.

  49. So do we have to take refugees from Massachusetts in Vermont?

    Yes, if they are US citizens or legal residents of the US. If they have broken the law and entered the US illegally, then no.

  50. Howley stated something else was their justification.

    No, she didn’t.

    She stated that something else was their actual reason. Their justification is just some BS they made up to conceal their reason.

    That’s what you are failing to understand here. If you don’t believe the Italian justification [as Howley obviously doesn’t] it is entirely appropriate to assert that their actual reason for arresting these people was something else.

    The government claim of the basis for their case is not relevant unless you believe it.

    That is the extent of what I wrote. Everything else, you read into it.

    No, it wasn’t. You also complained that you thought Howley was trying to deceive you.

    She was only trying to deceive you if the Italians are telling the truth about their motivation for this prosecution. If they’re not, she isn’t misleading you, she’s enlightening you.

    So again, your claim about Howley is only appropriate or relevant if you already have accepted the Italian claims.

    So, you’d let OBL move here then, right?

    Well, Click, if OBL decided to emigrate to the US, I for one would be delighted – because we could then arrest him and try him for his many crimes.

    The whole problem we have with OBL right now is that he is trying to avoid coming to the US.

    Or, if you’re asking if I would support letting OBL emigrate to the US in his 20’s, before he committed any crimes, in some alternate timeline – well, of course I would. You can’t exclude people for crimes they haven’t committed yet. And if you’re arguing that you personally “know” who is dangerous and who is not among the pool of persons who have not committed any crime, well – go fuck yourself. You possess no such knowledge and the set of biases you’re likely to bring to the process makes you an unacceptable arbiter right off the bat.

  51. I love watching joe get owned.

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