Credits: Photo: REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

The IOM reports an increase in the number of Ivorian women attempting to cross the Mediterranean, with many submitting desperate pleas for help when they reach landing points in Italy. The percentage of Ivorian women and girls arriving in Italy by sea has risen even though there has been a drop in the total number of Ivorian migrants arriving.

"Behind the numbers, there are many tragic stories, of which we often know too little," said Laurence Hart - IOM coordinator for the Mediterranean.

"The recruitment is carried out by members of the victim’s network such as friends, relatives, people who attend their family or randomly met. Social media can also be used as a tool to entice potential victims of trafficking," the IOM said in its report. It further highlighted that the many of the Ivorian females leaving their country were not economic migrants.

So, the reasons that explain the departure of Ivorian women and girls are also related to gender-based violence suffered in the country of origin, including female genital mutilations, forced marriage, domestic violence," the report stressed.

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