Freitag, 20. April 2012

Mineo: Prostitution, abuse, violence and now also abortions

Life within the 400 small villas once inhabited by the marines from the US base, Sigonella consists not only of isolation, never-ending waits for hearings with the Commission for asylum requests or for help with appeals against rejections, imposed idleness, the absence of external structures and infrastructures and all that we have come to associate with life inside the Mineo, CARA; it is also prostitution, abuse and now also abortions.

It has never been understood why voluntary associations who could establish an important point of reference for the migrants are denied access. The declarations published in the daily newspaper La Sicilia by Paolo Ragusa, president of the consortium which runs the CARA on the possibility of granting access to the association Penelope are not justified as the association is about to contradict such claims. Illegal substances are known to be brought into the centre by the residents themselves (some of whom have been arrested) and scams have also been uncovered, like that of the accused Tunisian interpreter.
The fact the abortions are not officially being investigated by the judiciary but by the Public Prosecution Office of Caltagirone, the responsible office for that area, confirms that the investigation, within the centre for asylum seekers, is indeed one of exploitation of prostitution. A recent article published by Avvenire denouncing a further case has enabled doctors and volunteers to make a potential link between the cases of prostitution and the number of abortions.
Already in the first three months of 2012, out of the 32 abortions carried out in the district of Mineo, 7 have been to migrants. These figures are very high if you consider that the hospital "Gravina" in Caltagirone serves an area of about 200 thousand people, while the CARA has 1,800 people, less than 600 of whom are women.
The doctors' accounts are shocking. There is one case of a woman who was brought to hospital in her 44th week of pregnancy, 2 weeks over a full-term pregnancy, with the fetus already dead. Another incident saw four women asking to go to hospital together, all four of them to have abortions. How come? "Condoms never arrived" was the answer one of employees gave.
  Now the Prefecture of Catania and Laura Boldrini, spokesperson for the UN High Commission for Refugees want an explanation for the situation and have invited the judiciary to "clarify" what is going on and carry out an investigation which includes cooperating with the countries where the women come from, for example Nigeria. Out of the near 2000 residents at Mineo, there are 57 ethnic groups, yet less than a third of the residents are women. "Many of the young women have little choice but to sell themselves," declares Laura Boldrini, "Therefore, the authorities and the international community have the duty to protect them with all possible means."