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Matteo Salvini. Photo supplied

NGOs launch barrage of emotional salvos against Italy’s Salvini

Minors are being forced to have sex if they want to cross the French-Italian border at Ventimiglia, a human rights organisation reported in yet another attack on Italy's Interior Minister.

Published: July 28, 2018, 9:52 am

    Rome

    The minors are forced into sex to obtain food and shelter, according to a new report by Save the Children. The report said that in most cases the “survival sex” victims were girls from the Horn of Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

    They have to pay between 50 and 150 euros to human traffickers to cross the border via car. “These girls are very young and especially vulnerable because they are part of a big invisible flow of unaccompanied migrants in transit at the north Italian border who, while attempting to reach their relatives or acquaintances in other European countries and unable to use safe, legal paths, are exposed to great risks of abuse and exploitation,” Save the Children’s Raffaela Milano told Italian News agency ANSA.

    The report estimated that almost 10 million children and adolescents were forced into a state of slavery worldwide in 2016, meaning they were sold and exploited for work and-or sex.

    The news coincides with a similar report on the exploitation of migrants after news of Libya allowing a woman and child aboard a drifting migrant boat to die.

    NGO Proactiva Open Arms on Tuesday published a photo of the two bodies in the sea, amid the wreckage of the boat. “The Libyan coast guard said it intercepted a boat with 158 people aboard supplying medical and humanitarian assistance,” said NGO founder Oscar Camps. “But they didn’t say they left two women and a child aboard and sank the ship because they didn’t want to board the motor launches”.

    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Tuesday he had never said people should be left in the sea to drown. “I challenge anyone to find a tweet in which I invite people to leave a human being in the sea,” he said. “My goal is to save everyone, rescue everyone, treat everyone, nourish everyone, but also to stop everyone arriving in Italy”.

    Salvini said in the face of alleged “lies and insults” from migrant-rescue NGOs aimed against him, only “confirm that we’re in the right: cutting departures and landings means reducing the deaths, and reducing the gains of those speculating on clandestine immigration”.

    Salvini said “I’m hanging tough. #closedports and #openhearts”. He was responding to charges from NGO Proactiva Open Arms which said that the number of migrant drownings had risen since Salvini closed Italian ports to foreign NGOs.

    But migrant arrivals in Spain have overtaken those in Italy, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) told reporters on Tuesday. From the start of the year to July 15 some 18 106 landed on Spanish shores on the western Mediterranean route while 17 827 arrived in Italy from Libya.

    Frontex also announced on Tuesday that there was an 87 percent drop in migrant arrivals to Italy in June compared to the same month last year.

    The route to Italy from Libya remains the most lethal with over a thousand victims since the start of the year, almost four times the number reported on the Spain route.

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