Recent stories: The refugees crisis in europe: Rescue in the Mediterranean sea
Libya is the main gateway for those attempting to reach Europe by the Mediterranean sea, with more than 150,000 people making the crossing each year since 2015.
According to the Italian government, 16,206 people have been rescued from the Mediterranean sea until March 18, 2017.
More than 1,000 have drowned in the Mediterranean, some of them are children.
The refugees and migrants, mostly from western Africa and some from Syria, are often captured by Libyan people-smugglers. They are reportedly sold to criminal groups if they cannot pay for their voyage across the Mediterranean. Some of those who cannot pay their captors, are reportedly killed or left to starve to death, the IOM said. Conditions on the boats are very harsh. With hardly any drinking water, lifejackets or petrol for the boat - they are drifted , and at some point, the rubber boat gets punctured and it starts to deflate.
The ones who survive are rescued by NGO boats and the Italian coast guard ships.
(I joined the Spanish organization Proactiva Open Arms).