Children Face Greater Abuse on Mediterranean Routes
More than three-quarters of children experience abuse, forced labor and trafficking while trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, according to the U.N. migration agency (IOM).
A joint report with U.N. children’s agency UNICEF found children are more likely to face exploitation than adults over 25 years old. The report is based on interviews with 22,000 people, including about 11,000 children and young people.
Violence against children is worst along the central Mediterranean route from Libya, and children from sub-Saharan Africa experienced higher levels of abuse due to racism, the report said. Some 83 percent of sub-Saharan African children said they had been abused on the Libya route.
“As we see a significant drop in the numbers of people on the move across the central Mediterranean, we cannot be lulled into believing that fewer children are at risk or fewer lives are being lost,” UNICEF spokesperson Sarah Crowe said.
“We are concerned that ‘out of sight and out of mind’ – in sometimes inaccessible areas – could mean that children and other refugees and migrants will suffer even more.”
Surge in Migrant Boats From Tunisia
The number of migrant boats from Tunisia to Italy has surged in recent months, Reuters reports.
Around 3,000 people, mostly Tunisian men, have arrived in two months, a local official told the news agency. Authorities believe 20 to 40 percent of them disappeared once they arrived on Sicily’s secluded beaches.
The numbers remain small compared to boats departing from Libya, but represent one of the largest waves of arrivals since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
Denmark Suspends Refugee Resettlement
Denmark said it will not accept any refugees through the U.N.’s resettlement program.
“It’s hard to predict how many refugees and migrants will show up at the border to seek asylum, and we know it may be hard to integrate those who arrive here,” Danish immigration minister Inger Stojberg said. The country had previously taken in around 500 people a year.
The U.N. refugee agency is trying to persuade countries to offer more resettlement places to little effect. At a September 11 summit, the agency appealed for 40,000 more places for refugees in countries along the central Mediterranean route. Just 6 percent of the refugees in need of resettlement in these countries were resettled in 2016.
- BBC: Libya Migrants: Inside a Detention Camp – Hot, Airless, Overcrowded
- The Century Foundation: Desert Base Is Displaced Syrians’ Last Line of Defense
- Migration Policy Institute: Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe
- Al-Monitor: Despite Tension, Syrian Refugees Find Sympathy in Lebanese Villages
This has been updated to correct the spelling of the UNICEF spokesperson’s name. It is Sarah Crowe not Crow.