February 12, 2016 1:30 pm
According to the latest news in The Guardian, The New York Times and many other international newspapers, NATO is officially on its way to join the battle against people smugglers, taking part in Europe’s migration crisis scenario for the very first time. Indeed, NATO ordered a naval patrol for the eastern Mediterranean, while some planes will monitor the flow of migrants alongside coastguards in Greece and Turkey. However, even if a stronger naval presence might encourage attempts to reach Europe, as there would be better chances of being picked up in case of boat sinking, people smugglers denied any kind of correlation – meaning both positive and negative – between the two factors.
Taking a look at the whole picture, the International Organisation for Migration said that around 400 people have died so far this year while trying to cross the sea to Europe, and that “nearly 10 times as many refugees and migrants crossed in the first six weeks of 2016 as in the same period last year”. Furthermore, according to the European police agency Europol, “more than 10,000 children who entered Europe during the last two years have disappeared“, leaving open the possibility that many of them have been trafficked into sex trade by the same organised criminal groups that profit from ferrying refugees to Europe.
Just recently, the United Nations stated that “more than a third of refugees crossing the Mediterranean by boat to reach Europe are now children”. Some of the missing children are teenage boys from Syria and Afghanistan, who have been sent ahead by their families with the hope of being reunited with them later; once on the streets, they may encounter drug dealers and similar felons and be lost forever.
NATO official involvement is already said to be an admission of Europe’s struggles to cope with the influx of migrants and the numbers travelling by sea. But what’s more important, perhaps, is that all European countries have signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and yet they are failing to provide for the safety of children on European soil.
For those of you who don’t know what people smuggling means, here is IATE’s definition of the term of this week:
“Facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation or illegal entry of a person or across an international border, in violation of one or more countries’ laws, either clandestinely or through deception, such as the use of fraudulent documents.”
- theguardian. 2016. Nato sends patrol to eastern Med to combat people smuggling . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/11/nato-tasks-naval-patrol-with-combatting-people-smuggling-in-the-mediterranean. [Accessed 12 February 16].
- The New York Times. 2016. 10,000 Child Refugees Are Missing. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/opinion/10000-child-refugees-are-missing.html. [Accessed 12 February 16].
Written by Eva Barros Campelli
Communication trainee at TermCoord
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