On Sunday, dead bodies of 26 Nigerian women and girls have been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea. There are some reports according to which their deaths are a result of sex trafficking. Italian authorities have launched an investigation into the case and till now two men (Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar, from Libya, and Egyptian Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid) have been arrested and charged.
Bodies were recovered from two separate shipwrecks by Cantabria which operates as part of the European Union response to the migration crisis through Mediterranean Operation Sophia.
It is believed the girls, mostly between the ages of 14 and 18, were migrants from Niger and Nigeria and set off on dinghies to Europe. NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reported from Rome:
“Salvatore Malfi, the police prefect of the southern town of Salerno, said the 26 women may have been thrown off their rubber dinghy into the waters of the Mediterranean. The cause of death appears to be by drowning.”
Poggioli further added: “Police Prefect Malfi called this a human tragedy and said his office has appealed to neighbouring towns to provide a dignified burial for the Nigerian women.”
According to the International Organization for Migration, 2,839 migrants have died on the central Mediterranean route in this year.