Rome - A total of 251,557 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 27 July, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, where close to 20,000 new arrivals have entered during the month of July, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
Rome – A total of 251,557 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 27 July, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, where close to 20,000 new arrivals have entered during the month of July, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
According to IOM estimates, the latest discovery of 39 bodies washed up on Libyan shores this week brings the number of casualties to over 3,034 among migrants and refugees who have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2016. This year’s total so far is significantly higher compared to last year. At the end of July 2015, some 1,917 people had lost their lives at sea.
IOM also noted the sharp increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy in 2015 and 2016.
According to the Italian Ministry of Interior, in the first six months of 2016, there have been 3,529 arrivals of Nigerian women, compared to 1,491 in the same period last year. In total in 2015, 5,633 Nigerian women reached Italy by sea and in 2014, there were 1,454 arrivals.
IOM estimates that 80 percent of the Nigerian girls are victims of trafficking. “Many of them come from the Edo region, where they are lured into enslavement and subjected to voodoo rituals to brainwash them into accepting their fate. They believe that any attempt to escape or rebel against their traffickers will cause harm to them and their families,” said IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo.
IOM’s counter trafficking work in Italy starts at the disembarkation points with information and legal counselling. Women – in groups or individually – are told about Italian legal protection for victims of trafficking.
Di Giacomo also reported that only 189 Syrians have arrived in Italy this year from Africa, compared with 4,273 through the first six months of 2015.
Meanwhile IOM Athens spokesperson Kelly Namia reported on Friday that a total of 1,732 irregular migrants have reached Greece by sea so far this month, with a total of 160,109 arriving since the beginning of this year.
She reported the death of one migrant, a Syrian woman in her late twenties, who was found in a temporary camp near Thessaloniki. This is one of several recent migrant deaths in Greece not related to a dangerous sea voyage from Turkey.
According to data provided by IOM Athens, 78,779 Syrians arrived in Greece through the end of June this year, compared with 475,902 during all of 2015.