So far media has painted the picture that African refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea pay huge sums to traffickers to be brought to Europe.

In an interview with BR24 Claus-Peter Reisch, captain of the rescue ship Lifeline, says the following:

Die Flüchtlinge, die da losgeschickt werden, die steigen ja oftmals gar nicht freiwillig ein. Wenn Flüchtlinge nicht einsteigen am Strand, dann werden halt einfach mal ein paar erschossen, dann steigt der Rest schon ein.

The refugees, that are sent away there, they often don't board [the ships] willingly. If refugees don't board at the beach, then they just shoot a couple of them, then the rest boards.

So far I was under the impression the refugees paid the traffickers, not that they were forced. So, is it true, that refugees are forced across the Mediterranean Sea by traffickers? If so, an answer as to why the traffickers would be behaving like that would be welcome as well.

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    As I read that (the original in Germsn,) it sounds more like people actually do want to get to Europe, but don't want to get in the boats. They aren't being forced to go to Europe. They are being forced into the boats. From other things I've read, that would be because even people who don't know much about boats can see that the boats aren't safe and/or to small for the number of "passengers."
    – JRE
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 18:48
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    Sure. But what they are doing is illegal. They want those people out of there. As well, there are only so many spots they can operate from. The authorities know those places. The trafficers don't want to be standing around, arguing with a refugee who has good sense when the police show up. Shoot a couple, ship the rest, disappear with the profits, do it all again next week.
    – JRE
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:02
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    @DenisS Got some links to those sources? I cant really see how the traffickers could enforce that slavery once the refugees are in Europe. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:13
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    And, at that point, the refugess HAVE paid. If they back out they are broke and stuck in a place that doesn't want them.
    – JRE
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:15
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    I mean, for all i know the situation could be explained kinda like "Hey, i sold a kidney to pay you $3k for a boat trip. That aint a boat. I want my money back." BAMM "Anyone else want a bigger boat?". But thats just a guess, thats why i am asking. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:56


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