Italian police find 24 children living in Rome's sewers

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Monday, April 6, 2009

98 people, including 24 children, were found Saturday by Italian police in the sewer system of Rome.

The Afghan youths were reported to be between the ages of 10 and 15. According to the newspaper La Repubblica, the children had stowed away on trailer trucks traveling from Turkey and Greece. They had spent nights sleeping in a standing position in filthy sewer pipes after removing the manhole covers and some of them were found in a sickly condition.

There had been reports to the police of children under the Ostiense train station, a common place for the homeless to seek shelter on cold nights.

The children, who do not speak Italian, are under the care of Rome's Social Services. Efforts are being made by interpreters to identify the children who traveled without parental care.

Save the Children said that Afghan minors in Rome have increased to 264 in 2007 from 32 in 2004.