Investigations by Italian authorities and others have found that NGOs funded by among others George Soros, are actively financing private ships to smuggle tens of thousands of illegal North African refugees into the EU via Southern Italy. The human trafficking is reportedly linked to ISIS smuggling networks. If confirmed by authorities, it could potentially open the NGOs to criminal charges .
Carmelo Zuccaro, the Chief Prosecutor of Catania, Sicily, has testified to a committee of the Italian Parliament in March that an official investigation into the funding of a fleet of modern refugee boats in the Mediterranean by private NGOs is warranted. He cited evidence that the human traffic smugglers in Libya and other North African coastal states, often reportedly linked to ISIS or other criminal bands, were coordinating the traffic into Italy of tens of thousands of illegal refugees. Zuccaro reported evidence that the human traffickers either on land, or on board smaller migrant boats, call the larger NGO-financed rescue vessels directly to arrange transfer of refugees. That implies a very close level of coordination between the human smuggler bands and the NGO-funded fleet of ships.
Zuccaro announced that his office is investigating what he called the “abnormal” amount of funds that allows even small agencies to hire ships. Italian authorities have so far uncovered at least ten private Non-Governmental Organizations involved, among them several NGOs financed by US hedge fund speculator George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
Zuccaro also told Italian press that, “the facilitation of illegal immigration is a punishable offense regardless of the intention.” He said that Italy was also investigating Islamic radicalization occurring in prisons and camps where immigrants are hired, illegally or off the books. European Immigration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos stated that some 80% of the North African migrants arriving in Italy had no legal right to asylum. Many were reportedly from criminal gangs that sprang up after the 2011 US-backed bombing of Libya and killing of Gaddafi that threw the country into anarchy.
Over the course of the past year as the refugee human trafficking route through Greece has been all but closed down, the route into the EU from North Africa has shifted to southern Italy and to use of modern chartered vessels to carry the thousands of refugees to Sicily and other parts of Southern Italy. In the first two months of 2017 illegal refugee inflows from Libya into southern Italy have risen by as much as 40% over the same period a year earlier.