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Women Make Up a Very Small Percentage of People who Attempt the Migrant Journey

Only 6 percent of the people who arrived in Italy by sea this year were adult women, reported the UNHCR. Female refugees and migrants are often depicted in the media as especially vulnerable, according to Alarm Phone, a non-governmental organisation that relays distress calls from the Mediterranean to emergency services, NGOs and commercial vessels in the area. However, in reality, that is rarely the case. “Most of the refugees and migrants returned [by the Libyan Coast Guard] are transferred from disembarkation points into detention centres, held under inhumane conditions without access to due process and humanitarian services,” reported the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Federico Soda, the Libya chief of mission for the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM), referred to conditions in official detention as “deplorable” where refugees and migrants are “either extorted or handed back to smugglers and traffickers”. He said, “There is still no system in place in the country to safely and securely accommodate the most vulnerable, including women and children.”