By Wendy Laursen 2015-04-30 21:12:17
A court in Sicily has convicted 20 Somalis for participating in people trafficking operations. The men had previously received political asylum in Italy.
The convictions were announced earlier this week, and prosecutors in Catania say the men were part of an international trafficking ring involved in bringing migrants from Kenya and Somalia into Italy.
Migrants pay large sums of money and the smuggling group helped them to continue on to destinations in Northern Europe, especially Sweden.
There have now been 42 convictions made as a result of investigations into the smuggling ring which was operating throughout Italy.
Between 500,000 and a million migrants are waiting to leave Libya, according to E.U. border agency Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri.
In 2014, more than 173,000 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean. At least 3,500 others died at sea. In the last few weeks the Italian Coast Guard has rescued over 15, 000 migrants.