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Thousands of Migrants Rescued While Crossing the Mediterranean

Recently, European countries have been facing a new kind of border crisis, as tens of thousands of migrants risk crossing the Mediterranean from Northern Africa to seek a better life in Europe. Over the weekend, Italian and French ships picked up more than 5,800 migrants attempting the trip in wooden and rubber boats. They also recovered the bodies of 10 migrants who had died during the trip. These are just a part of the estimated 35,000 migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year. More and more of them are losing their lives in the process. Just a few weeks ago, as many as 800 migrants drowned when their boat capsized off the coast of Libya. And authorities say more than 1,700 have died while making the journey this year. A large contributor to this are the networks of smugglers that people are using to make the journey, many of whom promise migrants safe passage and then force them onto packed, flimsy boats in order to increase profits. Some migrants are even beaten by the smugglers and forced to give up their money and passports.

European Union leaders have said they will increase funding for operations by Frontex, an EU border agency, to rescue migrants from smugglers, but some say they need to do more. “Search and rescue efforts must be more comprehensive and supported by the European Union and its member states,” the director of the International Organization for Migration in Italy told the BBC. “This is a humanitarian emergency that involves us all and responses to it must be more holistic” …

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