Via The Independent: Migrants being raped, shot and tortured on desperate journeys to Europe, doctor reveals. Excerpt:
Migrants are being raped, shot and tortured during their desperate journeys to Europe even before they risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean, a doctor has revealed.
Anna Crepet, who works for medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said treating the thousands of men, women and children arriving in Italy feels “like working in a warzone”. S
peaking in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, where MSF medics work at boat landings and in reception centres, she told The Independent most migrants go untreated for potentially fatal injuries until they reach safety.
“Sometimes it feels like we’re working in a warzone but here I think it’s even worse, because we see injuries that haven’t been treated for weeks,” Dr Crepet said.
“We see lots of fractures through beating, lots of gunshot wounds. We find bullets in muscles and under the skin.”
She recounted how one man arrived in Sicily with a hole through one thigh where a bullet had passed through and become embedded in his other leg.
But some injuries are harder to spot. Dr Crepet said almost all women who make the journey from their homes in Africa or the Middle East are raped along the way, often arriving several months pregnant. Migrants' desperate boat journeys to Europe 1 of 33 Next “They tend to say very little about what they've been through but sometimes we see scars and wounds from rape,” she said.
“We know that most of the women who come here alone must have been raped - and a lot of women arrive on their own."
Dr Crepet likened some of the stories she had heard to torture, telling of migrants being gang-raped in front of their loved ones by their captors in Libya.
“Men or women, it doesn't matter,” she said. “We've seen 13-year-olds who have been raped."
Many migrants tell doctors similar stories of being kidnapped, held hostage and beaten in Libya by gangs demanding money.
But even before they get to the lawless country, where most smugglers’ boats are launched towards Italy, people coming from sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East are driven for weeks through the desert in overcrowded pick-up trucks.
Dr Crepet said the Sahara was “one of the deadliest parts of the journey”, with many migrants being murdered or dying in car accidents or of dehydration.