Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

'Slavery deals' fuel surge of teenage migrants in Italy

Share this article

'Slavery deals' fuel surge of teenage migrants in Italy
Some 7,009 unaccompanied migrant children have arrived in Italy this year. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
14:26 CEST+02:00
The number of unaccompanied minors among Italy's refugees has doubled since last year, as smugglers' exploitative "pay as you go" deals attract cashless teens.

Of the 7,567 migrants below the age of 18 who have arrived in Italy since January, some 7,009 of them - 92 percent -  were travelling alone, according to a recent report by United Nation's children's agency, Unicef. That figure is double the number of unaccompanied minors who arrived during the first five months of 2015.

According to the report, youngsters making the perilous crossing to Italy alone face greater dangers than adults, often suffering sexual abuse and being forced into labour or prostitution by traffickers once they arrive on Italy's shores.

“It's a silent and desperate situation, yet there are hundreds and thousands more ready to risk everything to make the crossing,” explained Marie-Pierre Poirier, Unicef regional director for central and eastern Europe.

“We need to protect these children from those who wish to make a profit from exploiting their dreams.”

Driving the high number of child arrivals is an increase in the number of “pay-as-you-go” deals on offer.These deals allow cashless children and teenagers to spend months working for traffickers before they are given passage to Europe on unseaworthy vessels.

“It was just like the slave trade,” said 16 year-old Aimamo from Gambia, who worked for two months in Libya before crossing the Mediterranean.

“If you try to run they shoot you and you die, if you stop working they beat you.”  

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

The Swedish university tackling the challenges of tomorrow

Ranked among the world's best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement