26 Nigerian teenage girls were found drowned in the Mediterranean. They were between 14 and 18 years old and had undertaken the perilous journey from Libya to Europe.
LDoubt hangs over the circumstances of the death of these young girls, but the fact that all the victims are young women suggests new abuses. Women are indeed often victims of abuse while crossing the Mediterranean on makeshift canoes. The perpetrators of sexual violence can be migrants, smugglers, but there are testimonies of abuse by the security forces.
The girls' bodies were found in the Mediterranean by a Spanish ship, which descended a "seemingly endless line of black plastic bags" on a port of Salerno. Lorena Ciccotti, police chief of the southern Italian port city of Salerno, told CNN that the authorities had opened an investigation into the cause of death of the teenage girls to establish evidence of possible torture or sexual assault.
In February, UNICEF reported that violence and abuse in the Mediterranean made this migratory route "one of the deadliest and most dangerous in the world for women and children".
The migrant crisis turns the Mediterranean into a vast cemetery. 58% of people dead during their migration to Europe died in the Mediterranean. 2800 migrants died during the first 10 months of 2017. 150 others arrived alive on the Italian, Greek, Cypriot and Spanish coasts.
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