Photograph: Martina Bjorn

A Desperate Crossing.Olivia Spili, of the NGO Sea-Watch, details a very different Mediterranean reality.

A Desperate Crossing.Olivia Spili, of the NGO Sea-Watch, details a very different Mediterranean reality.

  • Words Stephanie d’Arc Taylor

During the last decade, the Mediterranean has become a route to Europe for people from all over the world looking for a better life. Libya and Tunisia are staging points for sea crossings, where vulnerable people are subject to horrific abuse, exploitation and torture by both the authorities and those who take their money to facilitate the journey. Europe and the rest of the world have turned a blind eye to the over 20,000 people who are officially recorded as having died in the Mediterranean since 2014. The true figure may be much higher.

The German NGO Sea-Watch has stubbornly held a finger in the dam of scandalous indifference. Since its founding in 2014, its ships have rescued more than 38,000 people from boats ill-equipped for the crossing. Olivia Spili is a protection officer for ...

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