Refugees and migrants suffer brutality and abuses along the routes towards the Mediterranean. Many fall prey to traffickers and smugglers and are extorted, raped, and sometimes killed or left to die. Many of them flee violence and persecution and have dire and urgent protection needs. It is critical that they receive life-saving support and protection in the countries to which they initially flee.
No less than 1,064 deaths were recorded in the Central and Western Mediterranean in 2020 alone. Only between 1 January and 28 February 2021, 5,034 people arrived by sea to Italy, including 578 unaccompanied children, compared to 2,553 in the same period in 2020. New arrivals observe COVID-19 quarantine on ferries or in-land facilities.