Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Moving US embassy to Jerusalem would be 'a terrible mistake'

Read more

ENCORE!

Hisham Matar's memoir 'The Return' seeks answers in post-Gaddafi Libya

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Acquired tastes: The 'disgusting' French delicacies many foreigners won't eat

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Brazil: Docu-drama spotlights harsh reality of prison life

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is Hollande eyeing 'European Council president' post after he steps down?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

11th hour: Scientists say primates facing 'imminent extinction'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Regional troops gather at Gambian border amid political standoff

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Online reactions to former French PM Valls being slapped in face

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Davos 2017: 'Donald Trump could be the entrepreneurs' entrepreneur'

Read more

Europe

Rome shocked after street children discovery

Latest update : 2009-04-06

Rome's residents were stunned to learn that 24 minors had been discovered living in one of the city's rail stations, with officials calling for an improved social safety net, according to media reports.

AFP - The discovery of 24 unaccompanied minors holed up below a Rome rail station has left city officials scurrying to reinforce the Italian capital's social safety net, press reports said Sunday.
  
"Some situations are a disgrace to the city," Rome's right-wing Mayor Gianni Alemanno admitted in televised remarks on Saturday, announcing a plan for a permanent task force to "prevent (immigrant) children from being abandoned."
  
City officials were quick to discount initial reports that the minors were found in the sewers running below the railway station near Rome's Colosseum.
  
"They didn't sleep in the sewers but in spaces under the platforms," said Social Services Councillor Sveva Belviso, adding that some of the migrants' meagre belongings were stowed in sewer pipes.
  
They were also older than initially reported, aged from 15 to 17 instead of 10 to 15, officials said.
  
The city will set up information points to help migrants find food and shelter as well as legal aid, and leaflets will be produced in the Afghan and Kurdish languages, Belviso said.
  
News reports Sunday said the teenagers' handlers had been paid up to 10,000 dollars (7,400 euros) to get them as far as Italy, where they had arrived via Turkey and Greece with northern Europe thought to be their ultimate destination.
  
Railway police discovered the teenagers along with 98 other people including other Afghans, reports said, adding that they were being cared for by the city's social services.
  
"I could never imagine facing such a shocking situation, and to think of what these kids have endured before arriving here," the head of Rome's railway security, Carlo Casini, was quoted as saying.
  
Mayor Alemanno came under harsh criticism from the centre-left opposition Democratic Party.
  
"Where does the mayor live?" asked Paola Masini, a party member who serves on the city council.
  
"He has completely lost touch with the reality of a city that sees an ever-widening social gap," Rome's Il Messagero daily quoted her as saying. "This is the result of the scant attention paid to the network of basic social services expected in a city such as Rome."
  
The Italian branch of the charity Save the Children said the number of Afghan minors arriving in the Italian capital rose steadily from 32 in 2004 to 264 in 2007.
  
More than 1,000 foreign minors wound up in Rome in 2007 out of a total of nearly 8,000 in Italy, the group said on its website.
 

Date created : 2009-04-05

COMMENT(S)