UNICEF [official website] on Tuesday announced [press release] an increased risk of abuse [report, PDF] of migrant women and children along the central Mediterranean trade route. A Deadly Journey for Children: The Central Mediterranean Migration Route [summary] looked at the instances of abuse and violence against African migrant trying to reach Europe. The report found that women and children are in danger of exploitation from traffickers and smugglers. The report surveyed migrant who disclosed they are often subjected to sexual and physical abuse while traveling due to lack of funds and unfamiliarity with the terrain. Furthermore many migrants are detained and kept in unsanitary living conditions without access to legal counsel.
An estimated 228 deaths in all are reported so far this year—1 in 21 migrants in January, compared to 1 in 24 in December 2016, and 1 in 41 for the entire year 2016. UNICEF estimates that 40 children died in January alone. The Central Mediterranean Route has become a massive people smuggling operation, which has grown out of control for the lack of safe and alternative migration systems. It exploits porous and corrupt border security, the sparse Saharan terrain and the vacuum created by the Libyan conflict.
UNICEF has introduced six steps the international community can take to alleviate the dangers, including better detention facilities that keep families together, educating the public and reducing detention of minors.
Immigration continues to lack human rights protections for migrants. A UN Working Group on Monday concluded [JURIST report] that people of African descent in Germany suffer discrimination, profiling and xenophobia on a day to day basis. The UK Supreme Court on recently upheld [JURIS report] immigration rules that require British citizens have a certain level of income to bring their foreign spouses into Britain. Last year the the UN Refugee Agency called [JURIST report] 2016 the worst year for refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea as the death toll reached its highest point.