Liberal party VVD demands that activists who “without permission” save migrants from the Mediterranean be tried for human trafficking. A draft in this sense has the support of a majority in Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, says the daily paper AD.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s right-wing party wants the crew members who fly the Dutch flag and carry out such unauthorized “rescue operations” to get up to 4 years in prison or a fine of up to 83 thousand euros.




“Organizations that deliberately navigate in an area where human traffickers operate, are just the last link in a chain of human traffickers that reaches Africa,” said VVD MP Jeroen van Wijngaarden. “In reality they are not a rescue service, but a ferry service.”

The reference is clearly to Sea Watch 3. The ship regularly saves people in the Mediterranean Sea and then remain stuck for long periods of time because no EU country wants to take on the migrants.

In April, the Dutch government implemented stricter rules for ships involved in rescuing asylum seekers to ensure that ships and their crew are equipped to take care of people on board for longer periods.