Police in Southern Italy have smashed a human trafficking ring and arrested 22 people. Operation Abid – the Arabic word for Slave – ended months of investigations into the smuggling of immigrants into Italy from mainly Egypt, Morocco and Sudan. Those arrested are also suspected of brutality and even murder. Investigator, Pietro Grasso said that at least two people had been killed by the traffickers when the victims had tried to escape while being transported by boat across the sea.
The price for entry into Italy was often extracted through violence from the migrants and their families, with victims being chained up until the full fare was paid. The investigation revealed a main organisational base at the town of Crotone with other cells in Florence and Milan. Would-be migrants were held in camps in Libya before being sailed to Italy. Over the last ten months 13 landings of boats crowded with people were linked with the traffickers, earning them vast sums.