Italy Investigating 26 Teen Girls Found Dead at Sea: Reports

November 7, 2017 Updated: November 8, 2017

At least 26 Nigerian teenage girls were found dead at sea, and Italian authorities are investigating.

According to the BBC, there are fears that the women were killed after being abused as they tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Five migrants are now being questioned in the Italian port city of Salerno.

It was reported that 23 female teenage migrants were found on a rubber boat with 64 other people.

The girls are between the ages of 14 and 18, and officials think they’re from Niger or Nigeria, CNN reported.

In all, during several rescue attempts, 400 people were brought aboard the Spanish warship Cantabria before heading to Salerno. Among them were 90 women and 52 minors, officials said.

People-smuggling gangs charge migrants about $6,000 to travel to Italy. Some $4,000 of that sum is for the Saharan journey to Libya, Italian aid group L’Abbraccio told the BBC.

Two men who are believed to have been captains of a boat—Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar, from Libya and Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid of Egypt—were arrested, according to the Guardian.

The prefect of Salerno, Salvatore Malfi, said that the young women were traveling among the men when the vessels sank. “Unfortunately, the women suffered the worst of it,” he said.

He added: “Sex trafficking routes are different, with different dynamics used. Loading women onto a boat is too risky for the traffickers, as they could risk losing all of their ‘goods’—as they like to call them—in one fell swoop.”

About 90 percent of migrant women arrived with some signs of abuse.

“It’s very rare to find a woman who hasn’t been abused, only in exceptional cases, maybe when they are traveling with their husband. But also women traveling alone with their children have been abused,” Marco Rotunno, an Italy spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, told the Guardian.



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