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Erik Prince thinks mercenaries can solve Libya's human trafficking problem

Europe’s refugee crisis has given rise to some drastic measures to halt the flow of migrants, especially in Italy, where, according to some reports, officials may have begun quietly forking over money to Libyan warlords responsible for human trafficking to get them to stop.

Erik Prince, founder of the notorious private security firm Blackwater, has another idea: Just pay me instead.

Following reports of actual human slave trading in Libya earlier this month, Prince is going around pitching a plan to install a private security force in Libya. He raised the idea, again, in a recent interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, in which he scoffed at the idea of putting rapacious Libyan warlords and their militias on the payroll.


“I do not think that paying militias is a solution in the long run,” Prince said.

Instead, he proposed installing a private force of 750 to train and assist a new Libyan border police in the country’s south, in what he called a humanitarian option for handling refugees streaming through Northern Africa toward Europe from places like Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

“We would bring them to refugee camps in the bases, they will receive food and medical care and will be repatriated without ever arriving at the coast. I imagine that Europe wants to block the flow of migrants in the most human and professional way possible,” he told the paper.

But Prince’s old outfit, Blackwater, which he left after it was sold in 2010, isn’t exactly remembered for its humane practices. It’s remembered for its notorious role in the Iraq War, including a 2007 massacre that left 17 Iraqis dead after a convoy of guards fired on a crowded intersection in Baghdad.

For now, it remains to be seen how Prince’s idea will be received in Rome or Tripoli.

But the former Navy SEAL is pretty well connected in Washington. His sister, Betsy DeVos, is President Trump’s controversial Secretary of Education. Prince is even considering a run for the Senate in Wyoming at the urging of Trump’s ex-campaign guru, Steve Bannon.

Coincidentally, Trump is scheduled to meet with the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj at the White House Friday, according to The Guardian, to discuss U.S. support for Libya’s government.

Neither the White House, nor the new security company Prince founded after Blackwater, Frontier Services Group, returned requests for comment from VICE News.