AYS Daily Digest 30/07/18: Children are victims of slavery in Italy

Save the children reports about exploitation of vulnerable groups / World Day against Trafficking in Persons / First Pushback by Italian vessel to Libya since 2012 / Statistics updates from Italy, Libya, Greece and Spain / New wave of asylum approvals and rejections in Croatia / Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt demands deporations to Syria

Many children on the run face exploitation and slavery in Italy and all over the world. Credits: Gabriel Tizon

Save the Children recently published Piccoli schiavi invisibili (little invisible slaves), a report on victim of child slavery and exploitation in Italy.

At a global level, according to organisations such as IOM, Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 40 million people were victims of slavery in 2016. Around 29 million (71%) were women and girls. Around 16 million were victims of forced labour and 4.8 million were sexually exploited (99% women, 1% men).

According to these figures, minors account for almost 10 million (25%).

25 percent of the victims of slavery in 2016 are assumed to be minors. Credits: Save the Children Italy

In Italy, labour and sexual exploitation have a long history. As for the rest of the world, data harvesting and analysis is difficult, because large part of the phenomenon is hidden. Recently, the numbers of Nigerian women arriving through the Central Mediterranean route spiked: 443 in 2013, 1,454 in 2014, 5,633 in 2015 and 11,009 in 2016, with a decrease only in 2017. According to many organisations working with sex-workers, a large part of these women fall victim of forced prostitution in different European countries. The trend is similar for young girls. In the last years, emergency reception centres in Italy (CAS) have been used to recruit new victims, both minors and adults.

Child labour is not only limited to the farming industry: a large part of violations recorded in 2017 referred to the service industry (trading, logistics, restaurants and hotels) and is equally widespread in the entire country.

An important part of the report is focused on the abuses suffered by minors transiting through the hubs at the Italian northern borders with France (Ventimiglia and Bardonecchia), Switzerland (Como) and Austria (Brennero) due to the lack of safe and legal pathways for minors.

According to Italian Labour Ministry data, by the 31st of May 2018 4570 minors left the reception centres in the country: mostly boys from Sudan, Eritrea, Tunisia, Egypt and Afghanistan, but also girls, mainly from the Horn of Africa.

Ventimiglia is the most critical of these hubs: Intersos have revealed that it is not only a stage in the journey for many people trying to reach France and the UK but it is also home of many criminal networks trying to recruit new victims for forced labour and prostitution. The inhumane living conditions in these border towns, and the frequency of illegal practices such as pushbacks and forced relocation to the South of Italy, increase the risk of minors falling victim to networks of human smugglers and traffickers and to resort to practices such as ‘survival sex’ in order to obtain basic services such as food and accommodation.

Additionally, IOM released a report to the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, which was today. The Organization states, that in the last ten years, some 80 percent of the victims if human trafficking have crossed official border points such as airports and land border control points. Women and adults are more likely to be trafficked across these points than men and children. “ Front-line actors, including border management officials at air, sea and land border-crossing points, can play an important role in facilitating the timely identification of victims and potential victims of trafficking, as well as of traffickers,” IOM concludes.


Libya


Sea

Sea-Watch reports the first pushback to Libya by an Italian vessel. The ship “Asso Ventotto” was witnessed to disembark rescued people at the port in Tripoli. “The pushback is a clear breach of non-refoulement and a stark violation of the 2012 #Hirsi v Italy ruling”, Alarmphone adds. Additionally, the track of the ship’s route indicates, that a rescue mission could have been conducted. According to ProActiva Open Arms, 108 people were rescued. The IOM Libya stated, they assisted the disembarkation of more than 350 people today.

While this is the first incident, a second is threatening to happen soon. The rescued people of the Sarost5 are still stranded in the Mediterranean waiting for a safe port to disembark — since 18 days, Alarmphone says. In the meantime it is reported, that Tunisia apparently offered a port three days okay, but the disembarkation is still being delayed.

Claus-Peter Reisch, captain of Mission Lifeline’s last mission had the next hearing at the court on Malta today. For a personal guarantee of 5000 Euro, Reisch was given the permission to travel. Additionally, the crew is now allowed reload the vessel with fuel and carry out necessary maintenance on it in collaboration with the Malta Police Force.

As SOS Mediterranee’s ship Aquarius is one of the few, which has not been seized yet, the crew is preparing to leave the port of Marseille for the next rescue mission on Wednesday, DPA reports (via Faz). The NGO further announced a press conference for Tuesday to provide more info about coming operations. For the last weeks the ship did not operate, as the travel times to Spain and France from the central med were too long. Hence, they were looking how to reorganise the operations.


Italy

According to UNHCR info, almost 18,000 people arrived in Italy until 22nd of July. However, in July the number was far lower than in the previous months with only 1356. Since the beginning of the year, 1487 people died in the Mediterranean sea, 1081 of them in the central med.


Spain

Salvamento Maritimo said, it searched for more than 26,000 people from 1200 boats until 30th of July. 22,000 people were rescued, which is more than in whole 2017. Morocco rescued some 3900 people and 46 died or are still missing.


Greece

The Zoristirio Group is requesting summer clothes for men, women and children as well as shoes, bed sheets, underwear and toiletries.


Croatia

Activists in Croatia are reporting about new wave of asylum rejections in general, but at the same time increase in number of approved asylums for people from Afghanistan — 7 people so far this year, including three single man. These are at least the info, AYS was able to collect so far. Last year not even one person from Afghanistan got asylum in Croatia.

One person from Pakistan, after being rejected for the 5th time, and after another appeal, got the permission to stay in the country, as log as the court does not issue the last decision if he can reapply for asylum. At the same time, one person from Palestine got final protection status after three years of waiting.


France

12 volunteers of Solidarité migrants Wilson provided food for some 600 people in the streets of Paris today.

Utopia56 is looking for volunteers in several cities in France.


Germany

Reiner Haseloff, prime minister of Saxony-Anhalt and member of the CDU, wants deportations also to Syria, the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reports. “We have to repatriate more people — also to Syria, if the requirements for it are given,” he said in the interview. There would be only a few people with a guaranteed asylum status under the constitutional law. Further, chancellor Merkel just had talks with the Russians, how to organise it.


UK


Sweden

The prognosis for the number of asylum seekers the upcoming five years, first released earlier this year, remains unchanged. According to Mikael Ribbenvik, head of the Migration Agency, the predicted and relatively stable flow of migrants reaching Sweden will bring a possibility for them to develop a more efficient way of working.

For 2018, the expected number of asylum seekers is 23 000 and for 2019 it is 29 000. The reason behind the slightly increasing number in 2019 is that the temporary asylum law from 2016 will cease to apply mid-2019. Compared to 2015 when nearly 163 000 people reached Sweden, this are still very low numbers.

However, it is not clear how the migration legislation will look like after the elections in September, and what the new government will decide regarding migration policy after the cease of the temporary, restrictive law of 2016. By the end of 2018, it is expected that the number of open cases will be lower than they have been the previous five years.

New investigations against activist

Following the incident last week, when the student Elin Ersson stopped a man’s deportation at the airport in Gothenburg, the police backed and said that she could be guilty of a crime. Several police reports were filed, and it is currently evaluated if she is guilty of any crime against the aviation regulation, Expressen reports. Previously, the police said that no crime was committed.

A preliminary investigation following the reports started Friday, and it will first determine whether or not any crime occurred. The assigned attorney James von Reis said that he will look into this the upcoming week, but due to a heavy workload of higher priority, it is not likely that he has any more information about a potential crime and following trial until the end of this week.


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