The first results of a study conducted by Rome's Link Campus University and the War and Peace Studies Centre reveal that about 70 percent of migrants who arrived on Italian shores in 2017 from Libya were victims of human trafficking, especially in the case of unaccompanied minors and women.
Migrant trafficking a widespread phenomenon
Link Campus said the results of the study "confirm that the majority of migrants who arrive in the country use a criminal network that illegally supports the various phases of the journey (falsifying documents, passage, bribing public officials)."
Of these, "in 70% of cases, it's a question of trafficking, a phenomenon that assumes, at the minimum, exploitation by prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or forced services, slavery or similar practices, servitude or organ removal."
Maurizio Zandri, director of the African Studies master programme at Link Campus, said the study also highlighted "the controversial nature of drawing the legal boundaries for human trafficking." He said that is why convictions for trafficking were so few compared to the suspected cases.
Human trafficking from Nigeria
Despite a recent decline in departures, Libya is still the main departure point for migrants who arrive in Italy by sea. They leave from the coastal area between Sabratha and Mutrud, west of Tripoli. Along this stretch of coastline, there are 86 main departure points. Link Campus said there was a criminal group that supplied African migrants and forced them into prostitution in the EU.
Several operations were headed by Edukuye Edafe Victor alias Pape, who was a Nigerian citizen operating from Sabratha along the route that departed from regions in the Sub-Sahara and the Horn of Africa.
According to Link Campus, this was the main reason why the maximum number of migrants were from Nigeria.