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Apr 24, 2017

Italy has evidence that NGOs are helping people-smugglers ship migrants to Europe

An Italian prosecutor says he has evidence that some of the charities saving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea are colluding with people-smugglers

Following our report last week revealing that the Hungarian government had been provided with intelligence that proved organized groups of migrants were being shipped to Europe, the BBC has today reported that Italian officials have similar findings.

An Italian prosecutor says he has evidence some of the charities saving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea are colluding with people-smugglers, the BBC writes.

Carmelo Zuccaro told La Stampa that phone calls were being made from Libya to rescue vessels.

Italy is the main route for migrants trying to reach Europe. Almost 1,000 people are thought to have drowned in waters between Libya and Italy this year.

"We have evidence that there are direct contacts between certain NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and people traffickers in Libya," Zuccaro is quoted as saying in La Stampa

He said that telephone calls were being made from Libya and rescuers were shining lamps to direct smugglers' vessels and turning off transponders so boats could not be traced.

The EU border agency Frontex said the work was tantamount to providing a taxi service to Europe.