Europe

Save the Children asks for proof of NGO-smuggler collusion

An international aid organization is urging prosecutors to come forward with proof that NGOs operating rescue boats in the Mediterranean are colluding with migrant traffickers, saying the allegations are undermining humanitarian work.

Save the Children said Thursday that the allegations by Catania prosecutors were helping "to creating a climate of mistrusts that risks to be at the expense of children, women and men in flight."

The group repeated that it had no contact whatsoever with traffickers and that its ship, Vos Hestia, operates legally and that its finances were transparent. It said Catania prosecutors had confirmed that it is "above suspicion."

Catania's chief prosecutor has said that he has evidence that NGOs are in contact with Libyan-based smugglers who crowd migrants into unseaworthy boats for rescue just outside Libyan waters.