Migrants rescued in the Mediterranean last week said they had witnessed increased sea and police patrols along the Western coast. Pascale Davies reports.
The migrant route from Libya into Europe is one of the most heavily used, but also one of the most dangerous. These migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean last week. They say they've been lucky to dodge increased sea and police patrols. Last month, Reuters reported that an armed group was also stopping departures from Sabratha in Libya, a key springboard for smugglers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM SIERRA LEONE, BUBA, SAYING: "Let me say it's a chance of luck. If you are lucky you make it. If you are unlucky they will karabouche you because there's plenty of ships." Slang for the various forces trying to stop the boats, the karabouche are accused of jailing migrants and then asking for money in order to free them. Some migrants say they have also suffered abuse while in detention. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM NIGERIA, AMBU, SAYING: "So every morning they would bring us out and beat us, flog us, with diverse type of punishment for we to call for our money. They gave food to call our people. While calling our people they would be beating us so we would cry so our people would hear our voice and know that, yes, we are suffering there." Italy has led European Union efforts to stop the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe. That has seen a twenty percent drop in arrivals in Italy this year, down to just over 100,000. But many charities say the EU plan isn't working. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MSF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS OFFICER ONBOARD THE SHIP AQUARIUS, NOOR CORNELISSEN SAYING: "You really have this sense of people being kicked around from one place to the next and unable to escape out of that. Doesn't matter how much ransom they are paying, doesn't matter who they are meeting along the journey. A lot of people, they perhaps leave their home country being smuggled but become trafficked along the way." These migrants lucky to escape detention. But many of those who are sent back will just keep trying, no matter how dangerous the journey.