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Tamara Chabe: Europe must strengthen its borders to stop slave traders fuelling migrant misery


In the past month, nearly 1000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in small boats. The boats are often dangerously overcrowded and in some instances inflatable boats have even been used.

Some leftist commentators argue that it’s Europe’s responsibility to let in the boat migrants because the crisis has been caused by Europe’s legacy of imperialism, colonialism, neo-liberalism, and failure by western governments to tackle climate change.

It’s interesting that leftist “social justice” campaigners talk about the supposed racism of borders but say very little about how open borders, and weak border controls, can facilitate human trafficking and exploitation of women and vulnerable groups for slavery.

Italy, the country where most migrants arrive is grappling with a problem of Nigerian girls from Benin City in the Edo State, who have been trafficked into the country to work as sex slaves.

The Nigerian girls are usually from remote villages in the Edo State and are tricked by gang masters, who tell them that they will be working as maids or nannies in Europe.

A study by Italian NGO Be Free, which supports victims of trafficking and gender-based violence, found that in 2011 there were 30,000 Nigerian women who had been forced into prostitution. Many of the victims are unable to leave due to pressure from the debt incurred during their trip. The girls agree to take on the debt, not knowing that the jobs promised to them in Europe are actually non-existent.

A report by UNIRCI identified the route between Libya and Italy across the Mediterranean Sea as one of the main routes for trafficking.

Open borders can be great for large corporations, who can use the oversupply of labour to suppress wages; however open borders are also good for human traffickers who can very easily transport victims around Europe.

Many leftist social justice campaigners talk about colonialism and imperialism, but say very little about the harmful effects of crony capitalism and corporatism on the poor, and the harmful effects of trade tariffs, which are protectionist and used to stifle free trade.

The only political leader to have mentioned Africa in this general election is Nigel Farage.

During last week’s BBC “Ask Nigel” programme, Mr Farage identified how EU trade practices keep many African nations dependant on aid, and how trade tariffs stifle development in Africa. Mr Farage said: “Can I just tell you what we do to Africa as a European Union? We put huge barriers against them selling to us. Their agricultural products you know, tariff barriers. We rape and pillage the fisheries off the west coast of Africa. We’re behaving in a neo-colonial way to Africa and we assuage our consciences by giving a bit of foreign aid that in nearly every case goes to the wrong people.”

Ukip wants to restore links with the Commonwealth and agree a free trade deal, which would empower local economies and facilitate real development.

Free trade is the unrestricted purchase and sale of goods and services between countries without the imposition of constraints such as tariffs, duties and quotas. Free trade enables nations to focus on their core competitive advantages, thereby maximising economic output and fostering income growth for their citizens.

Greenpeace has also highlighted the issue of over-fishing by the EU in African waters. Willie MacKenzie, a Greenpeace ocean campaigner, said: “Europe is using EU taxpayers’ money to subsidise powerful vessels to expand into the fishing grounds of some of the world’s poorest countries and undermine the communities who rely on them for work and food.”

Ukip have also highlighted how counterproductive foreign aid is, and how it fuels corruption and the cycle of poverty and dependency. An official report by the “Independent Commission for Aid” found that British taxpayer’s money is funding corruption overseas.

Transparency International, which is an International non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption, ranks Somalia as being the most corrupt regime in the world. A leaked UN report warned of corrupt Somali officials who assist Al Qaeda backed terrorists including Al Shabbab, who have committed numerous terrorist atrocities in Kenya.

Britain gives Somalia vastsums of aid money, and there have even been instances of aid confiscated and stolen by Islamic militants. Sudan, which is named as the third most corrupt nation in the word by Transparency International, also receives vast sums of foreign aid.

Foreign policy mistakes have contributed to the chaos. The terrifying rise of Isis (Islamic State) is evidence that the doctrine of “liberal intervention” is fundamentally flawed. You can’t bring democracy to a country by the barrel of a gun or by an aerial bombing campaign.

Even before the bombing campaign in Libya, there were reports that many of the western-backed “rebels” were linked to Al Qaeda affiliated groups. In an article in Italian Newspaper “II Sole 24”, Abdel-Hakim a Libyan rebel leader admitted that jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq were on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Before the intervention, Libya was actually Africa’s richest country, and under Gaddafi Libyans enjoyed free electricity, education and medical treatment, and women had equal rights. Gaddafi was a dictator but he was one of the few who spent oil wealth on the people and had a secular dictatorship. Libya is now a failed state and Isis has established a stronghold in the country.

Libya had always been a major departing point for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Gaddaffi set down measures which helped to limit the number of illegal crossings, and even warned Europe about the danger. It was obvious that the chaos in Libya would result in a spike in illegal crossings.

Sealing Europe’s border and preventing illegal immigration could stop instances of modern slave trade and the human trafficking. A weak border also allows Islamic extremists and Jihadists easy entry into Europe.

So far Nigel Farage is the only leader who has offered a common sense solution to the migrant boat crisis and steps to deal with some of the root causes at source, such as free trade not aid. Farage was also opposed to the Libyan intervention.

Legal immigration which is controlled and fair has many benefits as it can help aid the facilitation of new ideas and practices, which is important in a globalised economy. However open, weak, and porous borders can be extremely problematic.

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Tamara Chabe
Tamara Chabe
Ms Chabe is a Legal/Business Advisor with a special interest in Business, Current Affairs & Leadership matters

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