Finally, in the dark of night, a rubber dinghy ferried the two boys, Hermon Angosom and Efrem Fitwi, out to a creaking fishing boat jammed with more than 200 others, including 39 children — the youngest a 2-year-old in the arms of his mother.
Both cried. “We were afraid of the boat,” Hermon recounted impassively.
The boys had joined the unceasing flow of Arab and African migrants who are churned through the lawlessness of post-Qaddafi Libya and spewed out into the Mediterranean — more than 170,000 last year and at least as many expected this year.
It is a journey through a failed state in which border security is all but nonexistent, corruption is rampant, the coast guard rarely leaves port, and the proliferating human smuggling operations are growing ever more callous and brazen. Human trafficking from Libya across the Mediterranean was a $170 million business last year, according to conservative estimates in a recent United Nations report.