Today is the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons and it takes only a glance at the news from this planet which we all share to realise that such a day is needed more than ever.
No one in the UK at the moment needs me to tell them what is happening in Calais and I do not trivialise events there for a moment. I can understand that the situation must be very frightening for anyone having to pass through the Channel Tunnel and that it must be very worrying for the people of Kent. Some of the language being used by politicians and media alike is, however, unhelpful and I can only hope that the human dimension of what is happening will not be forgotten and I do mean for all involved.
Back here in Italy there has been no let-up in the arrival of migrant boats and no one expects any change as the summer wears on. Last week we had the tragic news that a ten-year-old Syrian child had died crossing the Mediterranean because traffickers had thrown the rucksack containing her insulin overboard before departure. Her poor father had no alternative but to abandon her body at sea.
On 25th July 785 rescued migrants were brought to Palermo and among them were 27 children, some of whom were unaccompanied and had to be taken into city council care. The good news is that many locals have responded to requests from Caritas for volunteer helpers.
Some of the migrants initially taken to Palermo have now been transfererd to other Italian cities and sadly there have been some ugly protests. Fiesole [Province of Florence] has, however, set a shining example of what can be done in organising a football match [for tomorrow night] between 12 new migrant arrivals and council employees and representatives to welcome them and help them integrate.
Yesterday saw 453 migrant arrivals aboard an Irish vessel at Messina and the ship [on which a migrant woman gave birth last week] was also carrying 14 bodies. The causes of death have not yet been established. Yesterday alone 1,300 migrants were rescued in eight operations off the Libyan coast. Of these, 241 have been brought to Pozzallo today and 533 to Augusta.
Please take a look at the UN information on the World Day against Human Trafficking and at the Blue Heart Campaign. If you fly, you may also find this of interest. Thank you.