Over the past decade, Greek, Spanish and Italian border guards have increasingly targeted the drivers of migrant boats arriving on their countries’ shores, in their quest for someone to blame for “illegal” migration. Thousands of people, usually migrants themselves, have been arrested. Same may have been paid to drive the boat, others forced at gunpoint. Among them are unaccompanied minors.
The penalties for people trafficking have increased, and while many have been exonerated and awarded payouts, others have received sentences of 20-30 years, some on the basis of one hour-long court cases.
The award-winning Lost in Europe network investigated the plight of underage migrants incarcerated after being found guilty of human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea.
My latest piece for @BBCAfrica is from Sicily and is about the hundreds of African migrants in Italy, some of them minors, who are accused and charged of people smuggling often on weak evidence and unreliable witnesses. With photos by @katestanworth https://t.co/jGDwDeKQss
— Ismail Einashe (@IsmailEinashe) March 31, 2022
Lost in Europe is a collaborative, cross-border journalism project comprising 24 freelance and staff journalists covering the Netherlands (VPRO, Small Stream Media), Belgium (VRT, Knack, De Standaard), Italy (ANSA), Germany (RBB24), France (Babelmed), Switzerland, Greece (AVGI), Romania (Ringier Romania), Croatia (freelance), Lithuania (Siena) and the UK (Guardian and BBC).
See the links below for stories published so far. And stay tuned for more.