Woman disembarked from the Coast Guard patrol boat in the port of Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy. archive photo/ANSA/Pasquale Claudio Montana Lampo
Woman disembarked from the Coast Guard patrol boat in the port of Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy. archive photo/ANSA/Pasquale Claudio Montana Lampo

A Jesuit center for refugees in Italy has noted that 67,040 migrants arrived in Italy in 2021 by sea, almost twice as many as the year before. Among them were nearly 10,000 unaccompanied minors.

In 2021, some 67,040 migrants arrived in Italy via sea, almost double the 34,154 the previous year. Included in this number were 9,478 unaccompanied minors, compared with 4,687 in 2020, according to an annual report published by Centro Astalli, a Jesuit center for refugees in Italy.

"Two out of every three migrants are still hosted in the CAS special reception centers created to deal with the arrival of large numbers" of migrants, the report added, noting that the SAS system for reception that is more widely spread out with smaller numbers and more targeted integration projects has only about 25,000 people of the 76,000 in subsidised facilities.

Abuse and torture of women on journeys on the rise

"There are numerous people in situations of particular fragility, victims of torture, intentional violence, and sexual abuse that have over the year been helped by Centro Astalli through coordinated actions of medical services and legal advice," the report noted.

"Almost all the women assisted by gynaecological services (213 in 2021) had suffered torture, gender-based violence, or abuse in their countries of origin or during their journeys" to Italy, it added.

"Some 334 victims of torture were examined for the issuing of a medical certificate to present to the Territorial Commission," it said, noting that "most were men but there was an increase in women (32% of the total), especially those from Nigeria, Senegal, and Eritrea. Often the difficulties of these people, which are increasingly unlikely to emerge in the initial phase after their arrival, come to the surface later: in the reception centers with SAI subsidies, the percentage of vulnerable refugees is on the rise (37% are victims of torture or violence)."

Abuse and violence in Libyan jails

The report added that it is "necessary to highlight those who have experienced jail in Libya. Almost all of them suffered abuse, violence, and persecution. In 2021, migrants who managed to arrive in Italy via the Balkans and who speak of beatings and violence by security forces that tried to push them back were seen" more as well.

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