The biggest problem facing Europe when dealing with African immigrants is the Libya militias. These are the people who control human trafficking in the Mediterranean region as they own the boats used in the trade. However, Italian officials seem to have found a solution to the problem that’s likely to work for the time being. However, there are questions about the humanitarian costs of the program as well as the methods being used. For instance, in the last few months, the number of immigrants entering Italy has been on the decline. It is estimated that the number fell by 85 percent in August alone. Speculation and rumors had it that the Italian officials were paying off these Libyan militias. While many people see this as a way of destabilizing Libya, others see it as condemning the immigrants to more misery. This is a move that has received worldwide criticism from many human rights activists. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of the United Nations issued a warning to the Italian officials telling them that the tactics they are using are very thin when it comes to human rights of the immigrants. On their side, Italian officials and ministers denied that they gave money to the armed militias. On their part, the Italians attribute their success to painstaking diplomacy as well as other inducements.
Deputy Italian foreign minister Mario Giro says that they have approached the issue slowly and carefully. He also says that they have spoken to everyone involved. However, he also notes that a lot of people are skeptical about the deal. He warns that the threat of brute force as well as money are what people always put into consideration when they want to resolve the Libyan standoff. However, the New York Times reported that if the new approach by the Italians involves the use of money, it will not be the first time. For instance, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi would extract tens of millions of dollars from the European officials to ensure that immigrants don’t leave for Italy from Libya. However, this arrangement stopped during the 2011 uprising that saw the end of Qaddafi era. It’s during this period that migration crisis became a major issue for Europe. European Council on Foreign Relations Libyan expert Mattia Toaldo says that the current methods are quite expensive as Italy has to pay over 10 warlords. The notion that these warlords might be the European gatekeepers offers them quite some leverage.