Rome, Italy, Jul 28 – Italy on Thursday launched a hard-hitting campaign on the internet, TV, radio and social media to warn African migrants of the many dangers they face in trying to reach Europe.
Dubbed “Aware Migrants,” the 1.5-million-euro ($1.66-million) campaign is targeting 15 countries in West and North Africa which have been big sources of the migratory wave.
It features migrants recounting their suffering at the hands of ruthless smugglers or enduring the perilous Mediterranean crossing.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, launching the project with the International Office of Migration (IOM) said an increasing number of migrants left for Europe to “pursue a dream, but ended up in a nightmare”
He recalled examples of women raped in front of their husbands in Libya, or people who witnessed seeing a loved-one die of thirst in the desert or drown at sea.
“Did they know about all this before they left?” he asked.
According to figures released by the interior ministry on July 2, 70,930 people landed in Italy between January and June this year. The full-year total of migrant arrivals for 2015 was 153,000.
Since 2014, more than 10,000 migrants have died or are feared to have drowned while attempting the journey to Europe by sea, most losing their lives in the central Mediterranean, according to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).