For those who brave the illegal and potentially lethal journey to Italy across the Mediterranean via war-torn Libya, it is not a gamble, but a calculated risk.
Any migrants who embark upon the voyage across the Mediterranean after surviving the traffickers in Libya have only two options in their fate. Death by suffocation or drowning, or seized by the Italian Navy and placed in refugee camps.
The latter is the goal of every trafficked migrant. As soon as they sight a ship of the Italian Navy or any humanitarian agencies, they rest assured knowing a “good life” awaits them.
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Rana, a migrant who currently lives in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Naples, praised the camp facilities.
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Recreation centre at a refugee camp near Naples in Italy Courtesy
“We had been sailing for six hours when we first spotted a light in the fog. We turned our boat towards it and came upon a fishing trawler. The fishermen called the navy, who showed up within half an hour to take us in,” he said.
Rana said the navy was very kind to them, providing them with food and blankets on the ship.
Today, Rana lives with 187 other Bangladeshis in a refugee camp.
“In a way, we are now leading a very happy life. The Italian camp officials treat us like we are special guests.” Rana said to the Dhaka Tribune.
Rishat, another Bangladeshi refugee, said that the Italian government issues a card within six to seven months permitting them to work inside Italy. He said the government also pays them €16 per month for personal expenses.
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But it was the food and toiletries the Bangladeshi refugees gushed over.
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Bangladeshi migrants lounging with African migrants at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Naples in Italy Courtesy
“For breakfast we get two flatbreads and as much tea and milk as we can have. For lunch, we get pasta, vegetables and more flatbread. And for dinner, as much rice and chicken we want,” Rishat said with a big grin on his face.
“Brother, when I was at sea, every few minutes I thought I was going to die. But right now, I love the place where I am. After everything I have been through, this is heaven.”