Millions of refugees have to flee their home countries because it is simply not safe for them to be there anymore. There is war, famine affected by climate change and other reasons which make living in certain parts of the world extremely challenging, to say the least.
The wealth and progress of the West obviously attracts these people, to seek the prospect of a better life for them and their families. However, it is not as simple for them to come here as it would be us to emigrate to Australia or South Africa.
In the open ocean, their journey can be dangerous. There have been many cases of people smuggling in the Mediterranean. The smugglers help them get across at various levels of cost. When refugees reach the cross-off point in Libya, in the best cases, smugglers charge them high amounts to get on old, broken and dangerous boats to safety.
In the worst cases, refugees are robbed, kidnapped and trafficked. There are no safety regulations; these smugglers can treat the refugees how they please.
This smuggling problem is HUGE and the damage to refugee lives is not to be underestimated. Refugee smuggling is a billion dollar business.
Various NGOs have been going out to save lives of refugee, to help them make this crossing from areas of conflict to areas of safety.
However, there is a new threat to the refugee's journeys - Defend Europe.
Defend Europe are a far-right group against refugees. Shockingly, they have crowdfunded over £91,000 from supporters for ship 'C-Star' to set out on a mission to the Mediterranean to interrupt search and rescue efforts of NGOs, and “monitor people trafficking”.
“They have accused charities such as Save the Children of effectively acting as human traffickers by rescuing them from peril.”
Defend Europe are essentially painting the NGOs to be helping the smugglers, they are involved in getting the refugees to safety in Europe.
Defend Europe are not doing this to aid refugees. Their actions come from racism; they simply do not want refugees in Europe. They want to 'defend' Europe as if it's an invading army when it is simply the underdogs of the world trying to create a better life.
Interesting that the Europe that now apparently needs defending is the Europe of former empires, the one that invaded and disrupted societies across the rest of the world, and continues to reap the benefits.
What are they defending against?
Refugees are scapegoated as the problem of todays society. What no one ever seems to address is that within the same narrative is that 1% of people have over 90% of all the money. It is actually laughable to think that black people, Asian people and immigrants are responsible for the economic woes of English people. If there were no immigrants in this country there would still be war, there would still be austerity. Immigrants are not the problem.
There is now a campaign launched by anti-extremist charity Hope not Hate to track down and stop C-star vessel.
The boat headed out 25th, but yesterday was detained in Cyprus and subjected to a court hearing. the Captain of the anti-migrant ship has been held on suspicion of human trafficking and forging documents. C-Stars 20-odd Sri Lankan crew had allegedly paid smugglers themselves, to help them escape to Europe.
So the C-Star ship heading out to stop people trafficking by interfering refugee journeys has now been arrested for human trafficking itself. The Sri Lankans on board had paid smuggling rings to get on the ship and be taken to Italy, with the crew forging documents to allow this, just like refugee movements the C-star is apparently trying to stop. The story comes full circle.
However, this arrest has not ended the mission of Defend Europe. They have denied allegations and been released. They still have a lot of support online, especially from hard-brexiteers, and Katie Hopkins.
Track the boat here.
Look at this huge boat compared to the refugee's tiny broken boats. And they are the threat how?
This mission needs to be stopped. Refugee lives are in danger from smugglers, and NGOs are trying to save them. Defend Europe’s mission comes from a place of racism and anti-immigration propaganda. The C-Star mission has no concrete basis and will only worsen the situation for the worst off.
Donate to Hope not Hate to help them monitor the vessel. They will use donations to track who is on board, where the boat goes, and what the crew do.
One crucial thing 'Hope not Hate' want to discover is whether or not there are armed guards on board the ship as some of their activists are boasting.
To shut down the ship's life-threatening operation, they need evidence that Defend Europe is breaking the law.
Donate today and help save refugee lives. They have been the brunt of all this chaos. They are the most powerless, yet they are suffering the most.