Fake life jackets sold to migrants crossing the Mediterranean

Photo credit: Simon Lewis. Dangerous fake Chanel brand “life jackets” being sold in Africa to migrants.

TMP – 28/11/2017

Libyan people smugglers are putting the lives of migrants at severe risk by selling them fake “Chanel” life jackets.

The traffickers, who demand vast sums to transport African migrants across the Mediterranean Sea on dangerously overcrowded boats, use the design of luxury brand Chanel, which does not produce life jackets, to sell the fakes for a premium price.

The traffickers’ deception is deadly. The jackets are packed with cheap foam and if submerged fill with water, turn into dead weights and drag the wearer under the waves.

“You can be the best swimmer in the world but you can’t really swim with a straitjacket on, and that’s essentially what these things are,” Simon Lewis, head of mission of NGO rescue ship Lifeline, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The smugglers are smart because they’ve learnt the system of how to make money from everything, and try to scam everyone, to get every last dollar out of them before they send them to their death. They don’t care about lives, they’re just herding cattle and making money off it,” Lewis said.