Tunisian police have arrested a couple for questioning over the arrival of their only four-year-old daughter to the Italian island of Lampedusa on an illegal immigration journey.
The girl arrived on a boat containing other migrants from Tunisia to the nearby Italian island of Lampedusa last Sunday, but without any family members accompanying her.
A spokesman for the National Guard, Hossam al-Jabali, said that the parents of the girl handed their daughter to an intermediary organizing the trip with a sum of money, to follow her to Italy.
Al-Jabali added, in a media statement, “The spouses have been kept. They are not cooperating to reach who benefited, organized and carried out the operation.”
The security official suggested that the child’s parents would be charged with “human trafficking“.
A Tunisian MP from the dissolved parliament, residing in Italy, Majdi Al-Karbai, said that the Italian authorities placed the girl in a specialized care centre and decided to enrol the parents with their daughter, but their arrest by the authorities in Tunisia prevented this and will complicate the matter.
Because of the economic crisis besieging Tunisia, entire families risk emigrating via small boats.
The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, which deals with migration, estimated the migration of about 500 Tunisian families to the Italian coasts this year.
It also counted more than 13,500 Tunisian irregular migrants who left from the Tunisian coast, including about 2,600 minors and 640 women, while about 600 people are missing.