SAMPA FROM NIGERIA, SHELTERED IN ITALY, AGED 16
Sampa, 16, travelled from Nigeria to Italy.
She is one of the thousands who made the arduous journey – crammed into unseaworthy vessels by smugglers who forced them to turn over their documents and possessions – across the mediterranean sea which has claimed the lives of hundreds of children.
She says it was a terrifying ordeal, “the journey will always be with me.”
In Italy she is staying at a government-run centre in Sicily, with other girls like her, who have travelled without their families.
At the centre she has shelter, food, education and legal help.
Italy recently passed a new law which aims to guarantee the rights of unaccompanied children and provide a standard procedure. The “Provision of Protection Measures complements the existing Italian Legislative Decree no.25/2008 which explicitly prohibits the detention of unaccompanied minors in accordance with international and European Union law.
A survey of migrants and refugees in Italy by the International Organization for Migration in Italy, between October and November 2016 revealed that 78 per cent of children answered “yes” to at least one of the trafficking and other exploitative practices indicators in relation to their own experience.
This is a fictional story, based on real life case studies, gathered by advocates of the End Child Detention Campaign.
Artwork by Nani Puspasari