26 teenaged girls from Nigeria found dead at sea. What happened?

26 teenaged girls from Nigeria found dead at sea. What happened?

Italian prosecutors have begun investigations into the deaths of 26 Nigerian women - majority teenagers aged between 14 and 18 - whose bodies were recovered at the Mediterranean Sea.

The trip across the Mediterranean is deadly.

The Nigerians are suspected to have been sexually abused and murdered at the sea. The number who died on that route was 2,639, the IOM says. Women might also try to rescue their children from drowning, putting them at greater risk of death. Authorities are also looking for signs of violence against the deceased women, according to the report.

Rescue workers recover a dead body from the Spanish ship "Cantabria" in the harbour of Salerno, Italy.

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That's a smaller number than the same area saw in the same period past year, where 159,467 migrants arrived in Italy and 3,615 people died on the route, according to the IOM.

Despite the drop, traffickers are still sending migrant boats out into the Mediterranean: the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday that more than 2,560 migrants had been saved over four days. The rest arrived via Greece, Spain or Cyprus. The teens are believed to have died while attempting to make a journey from Libya to Europe. 150,982 migrants have reached European shores, namely 74% arrive on Italian territory.

As a result, alternative routes have experienced an uptick of migrant flows. Most died while making the crossing toward Italy in rubber dinghies.

Since 2014, more than 400,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

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Women might endure sexual assault and rape and contract HIV as a result. The men are believed to have captained one of the boats.

Italian media report a total of 375 migrants rescued from the sea and now in the warship are sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Sudan.

"Police Prefect Malfi called this a human tragedy and said his office has appealed to neighboring towns to provide dignified burial for the Nigerian women".

"They were on a dinghy that was also carrying men", he told reporters who asked whether the women were on a sex-trafficking boat.

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