Both organizations were involved in organizing the corridor transfers, along with Italy’s foreign and interior ministries and charities including the Community of Sant’Egidio and Caritas.
Italy has tried for several years to arrange humanitarian corridors so people fleeing conflict, persecution or other grave situations would have an alternative to being smuggled by human traffickers. But the numbers of those being able to reach other countries through these corridors are small compared to the tens of thousands of people who resort to smugglers to reach Europe.
In Sicily, Italian authorities, including border police, detained for investigation of people smuggling five Egyptians who were among 674 survivors aboard an overcrowded fishing boat that was aided last week off southern Italy, the Italian news agency ANSA said Monday. Rescuers found five bodies aboard the fishing boat. Those who died suffered from dehydration and excessive heat, ANSA said.
The suspects were being investigated in the Sicilian port of Messina for allegedly facilitating illegal migration and death as result of another crime, ANSA said. Many of the rescued migrants were transferred Sunday to Messina.
Some survivors told authorities that the smugglers beat them with clubs and belts during the sea voyage and sharply rationed drinking water on the boat, ANSA said.
In all, Italian authorities and charity ships reported rescuing over 1,100 people in the Mediterranean Sea last weekend.
Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.