A new wave of migrants crossing the Balkans in search of safety in the EU is bringing fresh testimonies of the violence and abuse that especially await women and children along the way.
“On the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, a Bulgarian policeman grabbed me by the neck and threw me on the floor. Then he hit me with a huge clump of dirt - here,” a woman from Afghanistan in her mid-30s, told BIRN, pointing to her left hip.
Because of the violence she suffered at the Bulgarian border, the woman, who was in her sixth month of pregnancy, lost her baby.
"This journey has made me old," she told BIRN with a heavy sigh, speaking on condition of anonymity.
She said she fled Afghanistan because of the rampant violence, only to face equal problems along the “Balkan route”, which according to her was “far worse than everyday life in Afghanistan.