ALMOST half of all people who arrived in Spain after travelling on the Western Mediterranean migration route experienced abuse or exploitation, according to a UN report.
The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) found 49 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women said they had experiences related to trafficking, abuse or exploitation.
The IOM surveyed 1,341 migrants from 39 different countries and refugees who arrived in Spain last year. Men outnumbered women nine to one, reflecting the ratio among migrants at large.
Maria Jesus Herrera, head of IOM operations in Spain, said the results of the survey were “alarming”.
“It is striking how varied their motivations and experiences are, and we do not always realise the very high levels of vulnerability at play,” Herrera said.
“Ultimately, much of the abuse and suffering could be avoided by strengthening safe channels for regular migration,” she added.
The survey found migrants were most likely to encounter abuse or exploitation while travelling through Mali, Libya, Algeria or Morocco. About 46 per cent of respondents said they were robbed at least once while travelling to Spain.
A total of 63,325 people came to Spain via the Western Mediterranean migration route last year, making it the leading entry point into Europe for migrants according to UN data.