Migrants disembark from the Emergency Life Support vessel in Brindisi, Italy, March 10, 2023 |  PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/MAX FRIGIONE
Migrants disembark from the Emergency Life Support vessel in Brindisi, Italy, March 10, 2023 | PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/MAX FRIGIONE

A total of 105 migrants arrived in Bari on March 10 after they were rescued by the private rescue crew of Life Support, a ship run by Emergency. Speaking with the NGO, the migrants told stories of abuse and torture in Libya.

One of the rescued women said she had spent seven months in a prison in Libya where she was repeatedly raped, as often happens to women who embark on the journey alone.

Another young woman explained she also fled from this horror.

Along with her two children and 100 other people she took the journey across the Mediterranean on a 12 meter-long dinghy in very poor condition. They were in international waters off the Libyan coast -- the dingy had already started to sink -- when they were rescued by the NGO Emergency between the night of March 6 and 7.

Many horrific stories from those boarding the migrant boat

The young woman told Emergency NGO workers her story, but hers is not the only story full of horrors. "The passage through Libya is made of abuses, sexual violence, torture and blackmail.Tortures are filmed and sent to relatives to ask for money in exchange for the liberation of the their loved one; this is what the people recounted and it is also what international reports state," explained Simonetta Gola, communication officer for Emergency, sitting at the dock at the port of Brindisi.

"This is how we condemn people to suffer because they do not have legal channels to access Europe," she denounced.

"These people endured a horrific journey. They show the signs of torture and burns that are typical of these types of crossings: they are caused by the mix of gasoline and salt water that is found on the boats."

There are women and men who were tortured, with broken jaws, without teeth, she said.

Among the migrants who were rescued, there is also a young man from Ethiopia who was living in Sudan in a refugee camp.

"He escaped with his mother when he was 13 and now he is 16, he tried to escape from Libya on multiple occasions but he was always caught and brought back which means he was put in the Libyan prisons," explained Gola.

"I wish him to have finally obtained what he fought so hard to achieve," she concluded.

Pregnant and forced to leave The Gambia after her husband's death

"I was in Libya for two months. For a pregnant woman without a husband it is very difficult. You don't have any rights, you have nothing. I had nothing, I just wanted to leave. I decided to cross the sea and reach Italy to have a future and to offer a future to the child that will be born."

This is the witness account of a 23 year-old woman, who is 7 months pregnant and forced to leave The Gambia, after the death of her husband.

Emergency shared the detailed note of the 105 rescued migrants who arrived in Brindisi: "The survivors were 59 men, 16 women and 24 unaccompanied minors with 6 of them under the age of 10. All people who come from war-torn countries, climate crises and food insecurity: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sudan. All survivors passed through Libya, from which they have a dramatic memory," commented the NGO.


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