UN chief "horrified by the unscrupulous actions" of smugglers

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Migrants arriving on Italy's Lampedusa Island after crossing the Mediterranean on a dilapidated boat. Photo: UNHCR/F. Noy

The actions of people smugglers in the Mediterranean Sea who subject vulnerable migrants to abuse have been described as "horrifying" by the UN Secretary-General.

Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees continue to take the dangerous journey on vessels, which are often set on autopilot courses towards the Italian coastline.

Ban Ki-moon was in Rome, Italy on Wednesday to discuss migration and other issues with the Italian government.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The UN has called on the international community to take action to help migrants as increasing numbers of people die crossing the Mediterranean Sea, often in a bid to escape conflict.

This was one of the issues the UN chief raised with the Italian leadership, in what he described as "good discussions".

“I am horrified by the unscrupulous actions of smugglers who subject vulnerable migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to abuse, and often abandon them to die at sea.”

The Secretary-General added that they also talked about the situation in Libya.

He said he is concerned about the increasing presence of the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh.

Discussions also focused on the crisis in Syria, where the conflict has now entered its fifth year.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 0'53"

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