In 2015 nearly 90,000 unaccompanied children asked for asylum in Europe. According to Eurostat the number has quadrupled since 2014. The average age of migrants has significantly lowered. The phenomenon crosses various ethnic groups, cultures and religions. The sicilian coasts have always been one of the main destinations for boats coming from the northen regions of Africa.
With the increased number of minors and women arriving during the summer months of 2015, welcoming centers were crowded with disoriented children, teenagers, young pregnant women and babies. From the port authorities, minors were transferred to welcoming centers, where they were registered, placed in shared rooms and where they were given the chance to start the family reunification process.
However, due to long procedures, it was hard to keep them under control for long periods. Many already had a destination and continued the journey. Others just decided to leave, with the hope to find a safe place to stay or to find a job. Some of these minors are still missing from records, they left no trace or they fell into exploitation.