[Italy] 'Give more help to child migrants', Save the Children tells Italy

15 Jun 2017
The Local

The Local quotes Save the Children in a recent statement that claimed over 70,000 unaccompanied child migrants have arrived to Italy since 2016. Having this being said, Save the Children is pleading for Italian officials to do more to assist these children.

2016 signified the closure of Northern Italy's borders and the seizure and deportation of 5,000 foreign minors by Swiss authorities back to Italy from May to November of that year. The year of 2016 further signified an astonishing 50% increase from the preceding year in the influx of asylum claims filed by unaccompanied minors who decided to remain in the Italian reception system, which is recorded at 6,020 children.

The organization favored the enactment of Italian legislation passed in March, which furthermore outlines the procedures to identify the age of new arrivals, and to assign guardians and placements in reception families while ensuring their access to healthcare and education.

17% of the 62,672 unaccompanied minors who arrived to Italy between 2011 to 2016, were from Eritrea, while 13% originated from Egypt, and 9% from Gambia and Somalia. Most of these unaccompanied refugees claimed to have been either 16 or 17 years old, while in actuality, they were older than what they had claimed, however the number of minors and pre-adolescent youth below the age of 15 had statistically skyrocketed from 698 in 2012 to 2,050 in 2016, with an additional 8,300 who had arrived between the time frame from January to May of the current year. 

Statistical figures furthermore indicated that the number of unaccompanied refugee girls is rising, as it is demonstrated that this number increased from 440 to 1,832, where most of this bracket originated from Nigeria and Eritrea, and are often victims of sexual abuse while traveling to Italy, while fronting threats to be prostituted upon their arrival in Europe by illicit networks.

Illicit activities have at times, been a focal source for many of the Eritrean, Somali, Syrian, and Afghan migrants seeking refuge in northern and western Europe.

Filippo Grandi, refugee chief of the United Nations, deemed the continental efforts in relocating refugees as "disappointing". Since the start of the month, less than 20,000 of 160,000 refugees have been relocated under the established relocation plan, in order to alleviate the mass entrance and settlement of migrants in Greece and Italy.

The contemporary global migrant crisis signifies the most intense crisis of its kind, since the second world war. 

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