A television news crew following the migrant crisis on the Greek island of Lesbos saw a human trafficker arrested yesterday, but the description of the journey used by the journalist reveals a lack of objectivity in reporting.
The human trafficker arrested was said to be so prolific he could make €1 million (£746,000) on the five mile sea route from Turkey to Greece in just one day, reports ITV News. The scale of his operation, running several trips daily accounting for up to 1,000 migrants, earned him the label ‘most wanted’ and the attention of the Hellenic Coast Guard.
Generally the coast guard is used on the sometimes dangerous route to ensure safe passage of the rubber boats making the crossing. The intention, according to ITV News, is not to impede the migrants but be on hand in case disaster strikes. As John Irvine reported:
“However the coast guard are not just rescuers, they are hunters as well. They want to catch the smugglers making a fortune off the backs of the desperate.”
The coast guard arrests traffickers after they have dropped off the migrants, intercepting them before they make it back to Turkish waters. Mr. Irvine says Greeks hate the smugglers who not only “exploit, extort, threaten and coerce, they recklessly send people to their deaths.”
The report at ITV News does concede that some of the boat passengers are not refugees “trying to escape war” but are in fact economic migrants. Nevertheless, Mr. Irvine still regards the journey as a “labour of love” from Syrian people taking it “yearning to reach Europe”.
His somewhat revealing belief that the journey is a “labour of love” is all the more extraordinary given the risks parents put their children under. Not only was a Syrian baby drowned off the coast of Lesbos when the boat he was in was swamped during its nighttime crossing last Thursday, a young mother gave birth on the beach having been forced on to her boat after her waters broke.
Mr Irvine says “there will always be the danger of more fatalities” because of the way human traffickers operate. If that is the case then opting to take the dangerous journey from a stable Turkey to reach Europe is not so much a “labour of love” as a dangerously irresponsible undertaking.