Unaccompanied - portraits, 2018
More than 70,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived in Italy between 2011 and 2017 they are mostly from Eritrea, Egypt, Gambia and Somalia.
Most of them were 16 or 17 years old, and although a few were in reality older, the number of children and pre-adolescents under 15 grow from 698 in 2012 to 2,050 in 2015. A very small minority were girls, but they are also growing in number, from 440 to 1,832 over the period, and mostly from Nigeria and Eritrea, often victims of sexual violence while en route to Italy and threatened by prostitution networks in Europe. In Italy is large numbers of institutions, where kids, often orphans, are placed upon arrival in Italy offered shelter until they are 18-19 years old. Once they become adults and they get all the necessary documents allowing them to stay and work in the country, they have to start living on their own.
Only in Palermo, there are hundreds of young people in Centres for Unaccompanied Minors who face the same problem and each year a large number of them are forced to look after themselves without support from the government. There is not so many jobs in Sicily so they need to be very lucky to find some work. Some of them found their home and living with the local families, but also some of them become homeless or start to work for mafia.