During the first week of January, two more ships were abandoned by their crews, leaving hundreds of migrants stranded at sea, reports NPR. The ships carry anywhere from 400 to 800 people. According to U.N. Refugee Agency representative Carlotta Sami, most of them are families with children, desperate refugees from Syria:
“And this is what smugglers are providing to them – to pay up to $7,000 to leave from Turkey on a very old cargo and to stay for many days in the Mediterranean trying to launch SOS and to be rescued by somebody because they are left alone, adrift into the sea.”
According to The Atlantic, “as many as 170,000 refugees [have come] to Italy by boat over the course of the past year or so from Africa and the Middle East,” with thousands of others dying in the attempt. The use of large ships extends the human trafficking system into the winter.
Refugees from Africa and the Middle East flooded into Italy and Turkey last year. More than a million Syrian refugees have arrived in Turkey since 2011, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.
The population of Turkey is 75 million. Turkish median annual income is something over $19,000 per capita. The U.N. Refugee Agency says the total number of refugees in Turkey will rise to 1.9 million by the end of 2015, including Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian and Afghani refugees.
The population of Italy is 60 million. Italian median household disposable income is about $24,000 per year. Italy accepted about 170,000 refugees from Africa and Middle East last year.
The population of the United States is 316 million. The U.S. median annual income is over $42,000 per capita. The United States accepted 70,000 refugees last year.