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There were ways to save the hundreds of people — perhaps 700, maybe even 950 — who drowned off the Libyan coast Sunday while attempting to escape to Europe. And there are ways to save those who inevitably follow them onto the high seas. But the first step is for countries to stop passing the buck. The responsibility falls not just to European nations, but to the United States, too.

Human traffickers have preferred the sea route to Italy from Libya since the 1990s. Other paths have been discovered and cut off, but this one has remained, according to a 2014 paper by Philippe Fargues and Sara Bonfanti of the European University Institute’s Migration Policy Center:

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