The Middle East, Northern Africa, and Europe have been staggering under a refugee crisis for several years. Thousands of people have attempted to flee from politically unstable and war-ravaged regions to safer shores, and many take that journey through Libya, which borders the Mediterranean Sea. Though tens of thousands have made it to Italy and Greece, and some travel through Europe to find shelter in various countries, many do not survive the trek. According to the International Organization for Migration, a migration agency affiliated with the United Nations, more than 3,000 refugees have died during each of the past four years while attempting to sail to Europe from Libya.
This crisis has caused unrest, famine and family separation, but in late November a new horror was brought to the world’s attention when video surfaced of refugees in Libya apparently being sold into slavery. The video set off a renewed international uproar over the refugee crisis, but the complicated and dangerous political situation in the region may make it difficult for aid to reach those who need it most.
This tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean might seem inviting to the casual outsider. But Nauru, barely a dot on the map measuring just eight square miles, is home to a refugee processing center backed by the Australian government. The center has been likened to a prison and cited for numerous human rights abuses. A number of detainees are children.