29 drown as smugglers push migrants into sea
Europe records biggest rise in slavery due to vulnerable status
GENEVA — Smugglers forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into rough seas off Yemen on Wednesday, leaving 29 dead and 22 missing, the International Organization for Migration said.
The agency said it had found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in the southern province of Shabwa after they had been buried by survivors.
“The smugglers deliberately pushed the migrants into the waters since they feared that they would be arrested by the authorities once they reach the shore,” said an IOM emergency officer in Aden.
Then they “simply went back to where they came from to pick more migrants and try to smuggle them into Yemen, again”.
IOM said around 55,000 migrants have left the Horn of Africa headed for Yemen since the start of the year. The journey is especially hazardous at this time of year due to strong winds in the Indian Ocean.
The officer said there were “many women and children among those who died and those who are still missing”.
The survivors told the IOM that a smuggler had pushed them to the sea after seeing people who looked like officials, said Laurent de Boeck, head of the IOM’s Yemen mission.
“They also told us that the smuggler has already returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route,” he said.
Meanwhile, around 115,000 migrants and refugees have reached Europe by sea so far this year, with more than 80 percent arriving in Italy, according to the IOM.
Meanwhile, the European Union recorded the largest increase in slavery of any world region this year, with the arrival of more than 100,000 migrants, many of them extremely vulnerable to exploitation, analysts said on Thursday.
The risk of slave labor in farming, construction and other sectors rose across the region, with 20 of the EU’s 28 member states scoring worse than last year in an annual global slavery index by British analytics company Verisk Maplecroft.
Globally there are 21 million people in forced labor, including children, in a business worth $150 billion a year, according to the International Labor Organization.
A family react to waves breaking over the sea wall ahead of Hurricane Franklin in Veracruz, Mexico, on Wednesday. The hurricane slammed into Mexico’s eastern coast on Thursday, sweeping the region with powerful winds and heavy rain.
Migrants on a wooden boat are rescued by the German ship in the Mediterranean Sea on June 18.