Young migrants who arrived on the Sea Watch last week | Credit: ANSA/Marco Costantino
Young migrants who arrived on the Sea Watch last week | Credit: ANSA/Marco Costantino

A young migrant who landed in Reggio Calabria last week has described his dramatic experience of being maltreated and sold into slavery before arriving in Italy.

"I was sold for 700 dinars. Then they held me prisoner. We were in captivity with other migrants of all ages," said an unaccompanied minor (whose identity is protected) who arrived in Italy on board the Sea Watch. This migrant rescue ship is operated by a German NGO and disembarked 232 men, women and children last week, who were rescued in two separate maritime operations in the Sicily Channel. 

Forced into slavery 

"They forced us to work. We were used as free labour," he said. "We were reduced into slavery. For us it was dangerous to walk on the road. They didn't consider us human beings. Many people are killed on the street for no reason or abducted for extortion purposes, to recover other money."

The boy lived in this hell at the mercy of cruel, violent and unscrupulous people for an unquantified period, but which in other cases has lasted from a few months to several years. The common denominator of all migrant tales is the drama of reaching Libya, where they are often handed over to other human traffickers out to take whatever they can. And if they don't have the money they are made to work to pay for their passage while suffering hunger, thirst and violence. 

Medical reports 

"We were assured a comfortable and safe ship would take us to Europe," said another boy. "Instead we found ourselves travelling on an old dinghy that we were made to board by force and under threat of gunfire." The medical reports of the minors also speak clearly, recording fractures, signs of beating, cuts and bruising as a result of the torture undergone in Libya." (The photo shows young migrants who arrived in Italy on board the Sea Watch in the weekend. Among them, the unaccompanied minor who told of his journey. Photo/ANSA/MARCO COSTANTINO).

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