The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) has released the second in a series of groundbreaking studies looking into sexual violence against men and boys affected by conflict.
The report ‘More Than One Million Pains’: Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys on the Central Mediterranean Route to Italy,” explores one of the most dangerous migration passageways in the world and the nature and characteristics of sexual violence perpetrated against men and boys along this route and when they reach Italy.
Refugees and migrants are exposed to sexual violence throughout the course of their journey from fleeing home, during the crossing of the Sahel, to being held in Libya, where they face harrowing conditions, and even onto Italy – for the few that make it that far – where for some the cycle of violence continues. The study also suggests that some boys, young men, and LGBTQI persons are being sexually exploited in Italy, as are numerous women and girls.
Dr. Sarah Chynoweth, sexual violence project director and consultant to WRC, who led the research, said:
“Our findings are deeply disturbing. Sexual violence against female and male refugees and migrants appears to be widespread along the migration route, particularly in Libya, where profoundly cruel and brutal sexual violence and torture are perpetrated in official detention centers and clandestine prisons, during random stops and checkpoints, and in the context of forced labor and enslavement. The fact that refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean are intercepted and forced back into this violence is untenable.”