A new report from charity UNICEF has suggested that Italy may have received more than 20,000 underage migrants this year from among the 160,000 total from Africa.
In 2015 16,500 underage migrants landed in Italy, most of them from western Africa. The figure has increased in 2016 with over 20,000 arriving by October with an increasing number coming from Egypt.
UNICEF spokeswoman Sabrina Avakian said, “Every week, hundreds of children end up in Italy, each with urgent needs: from babies to teens who do not know what is waiting for them in a country that they do not know,” reports Austria’s Nachrichten.
Ms. Avakian continued: “Many children have suffered severe trauma in seafaring. Many have seen people drown, others have suffered burns on the rafts from the fuel. All need protection and a place where they can live.”
Many of the underage migrants come from Gambia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Guinea, Somalia, and Ivory Coast. Most infants travel with a parent and many of the teenage migrants tend to travel alone or on occasion with friends. Some question the motivation of these teens who are often enticed by media portrayals of life in Europe and promises of luxurious lifestyles by people smugglers.
Breitbart London has reported that many underage migrants are sold into sexual slavery, become drug runners or even have their organs harvested by human traffickers if they are unable to pay their debts. There have even been shocking reports of cannibalism by African people traffickers.
Once the underage migrants are on European soil, they are almost impossible to deport due to their age. Germany has had issues with teenage migrants who have gone on crime sprees, all while collecting money from the German taxpayer.
Another issue surrounding underage migrants is the growing number of child brides which is on the rise in Germany. The German government has recorded hundreds of cases of young girls being trafficked to Germany after their mothers married them off to adult men supposedly to keep away sexual predators in asylum camps in the Middle East.
In the UK several underage migrants were allowed to enter the country who had been living in the Calais Jungle migrant camp. But many were outraged when it turned out that most of those who had claimed to be underage were, in fact, adults, leading to speculation as to how many so-called underage migrants are really children in the first place.