General News

Immigrant minors risk being exploited in Italy

Date: Oct 3, 2017

The doors open every evening at the Italian charity Intersos in Rome to feed at least a few of the nearly 65 000 immigrant minors who have arrived in the city after making a perilous sea crossing from North Africa.

Mamadu Bassir is a gangly 17-year-old boy from Guinea who travelled to Italy alone last year. A Libyan prison guard knocked out three of this teeth with a club. Bassir, who cannot swim, survived because minutes earlier rescuers had thrown him a life-jacket. Clearly still traumatised by his experience he now has an immigration lawyer helping him get the documents he needs to work legally, or to go to school.

Four months ago, Italy passed a law aimed at protecting child immigrants that has been praised by humanitarian groups, but without adult guidance and under pressure to send money home, thousands end up again in the hands of smugglers or exploited to work long hours for little money.

Kostas Moschochoritis, head of the Intersos humanitarian group says while they can help the minors they can never substitute the families they have left behind.

Syed Hasnain, a 28-year-old Afghan, arrived in Italy a decade ago. His mother sent him away when he was 10-years-old to keep the Taliban from taking him to fight. Now he helps kids like Bassir. He says for most of the minors, missing their mothers is one of their greatest problems.

Often the young migrants want to reach relatives in other European countries, but increased border security by France, Switzerland and Austria often means that they pay high fees to be smuggled north.

After hosting since 2011, 4 000 unaccompanied minors and migrant families with young children, Intersos is opening a new shelter with more beds on the outskirts of the capital.

Egypt plans to issue dollar-denominated Eurobonds between January and February next year, followed by a euro-denominated issue later, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said on Tuesday.

The minister told reporters the Dollar-denominated Eurobonds would be worth $3 billion to $4 billion and the euro-denominated issue around 1-1.5 billion euros.

Egypt has been negotiating billions of dollars in aid from multi-lateral lenders including a three-year, $12 billion loan programme from the International Monetary Fund to help revive an economy hit by upheaval since the 2011 revolt.

The minister also said tax revenues grew to 464.4 billion Egyptian pounds ($26.3 billion) in the fiscal year 2016-2017 from 352.3 billion pounds ($20 billion) a year earlier while total government revenues were 659.2 billion pounds for the year versus 491.5 billion a year earlier.

--Reuters--

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