Migration and sexual crimes: the plight of women during the exodus
March 08, 2018
Credits: Alessandro Fucarini / AFP
In two years of operations in the Mediterranean, the team of SOS Mediterranean assisted 4,000 women out of 27,000 people rescued. Women that pay a heavy price during these crossings. Among them, many were victims of sexual violence during the journey that brought them to the sea.
"Are you pregnant?" This is the question that Alice Goteau asked, tirelessly, to the women welcomed aboard Aquarius. Midwife for Doctors Without Borders, she worked on the boat of SOS Mediterranean in the summer of 2017. "About 20% of the women we rescue are pregnant; it'is a pretty high number," she says. Most of them are under thirty, "so at a very fertile period of their lives" and above all, they "travel alone". That's what is a bit difficult "because how did they become pregnant, if they're alone?" she asks herself.
It is frequently during pregnancy consultations that these women "start talking about what happened". For many from Nigeria, Eritrea or Ivory Coast, it is often in Libya that they become pregnant against their will. "They are for the most part either sex slaves - they are prostitutes - or directly violated," says the SOS Mediterranean' president Francis Vallat. "Many of them are in an absolutely deplorable state, including physical injuries. "
Read more: RFI