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’An alarming trend’ : Lone child migrants arriving in Italy by boat more than doubles

Publié le 14-01-2017

Source :

Auteur  : Ross Logan

« More than double the number of unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Italy in 2016 compared to the year before, new figures have revealed.

UNICEF said the numbers set an “alarming trend” that left thousands of young people open to abuse, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

About 25,800 young migrants crossed the Mediterranean from Africa last year, with most of the children hailing from war-torn Eritrea, Egypt, Gambia and Nigeria.

UNICEF’s emergency manager Lucio Melandri said a “co-ordinated European response” was needed to keep the children safe, Reuters reported.

”These figures indicate an alarming trend of an increasing number of highly vulnerable children risking their lives to get to Europe,” he said.

“Current systems in place are failing to protect these children who find themselves alone in a totally unfamiliar environment.

“Because they are on the move, a coordinated European response is needed to keep them safe."

In 2016 a record number of migrants reached Italy by boat.

Around 181,000 people, mainly from Africa, made the perilous journey by water.

The majority of them paid Libyan people traffickers to get them across.

So far this year, there have been 11 recorded migrant deaths in the Med, including four who died from hypothermia.

Last week it was reported that sick people smugglers are harvesting the organs of migrants, including children, who are unable to pay the extortionate costs demanded by traffickers.

In Italy, a network of 23 smugglers were arrested earlier this week and one of them spoke candidly about the sick fate that awaits many young migrants.

He said : “Sometimes the migrant lacks the money to pay for the leg of their journey, or for a place in one of the refugee boats.

“I was told that these refugees are being handed over to Egyptians for about 15,000 dollars.

“These were ‘equipped for the removal of organs’ and transported these in refrigerated bags. Not even children are spared here.” »

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