The Latest: Job program for trafficked women gets Gucci gift

TUNIS, Tunisia — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

Nigerian women who were trafficked to Italy to work as prostitutes have found new work in a handbag and dressmaking shop that recently received some top-notch raw materials: 4,000 meters of leftover fabric from Gucci.

The job initiative was announced Tuesday with a fashion show. The Nigerian dressmakers worked with a group of Italian design students to sketch and sew the displayed garments, which mixed Gucci silks, satins and cotton with bright African prints.

Sister Rita Giaretta, an Italian nun who runs a home for rescued migrants in the southern city of Caserta, said the program is meant to give the women dignified work so they aren't reliant on handouts.

The Gucci fabric bolts were donated as part of the fashion house's philanthropic environmental initiative.


3:30 p.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says the German government no longer sees a reason to hold back on deporting people to Afghanistan on security grounds.

Germany stopped scheduling deportation flights to Afghanistan after a bomb attack partially destroyed the German Embassy in Kabul just over a year ago. The government resumed in September transporting a limited number of Afghan migrants, including people with criminal records and those who refused to provide accurate identity information.

Merkel told lawmakers Wednesday that "from our point of view, the restrictions are dropped" following a recent Foreign Ministry report on the situation and given that the Embassy's operations are now close to normal.

Afghans represented one of the larger groups of nationals during the 2015-16 influx of refugees and other migrants to Germany.


3:15 p.m.

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has fired his interior minister amid recriminations over a capsized boat of migrants off the coast of the North African country.

Wednesday's announcement by the office of Tunisia's president came a day after the interior minister, Lotfi Brahem, fired 10 security guards following the weekend sinking that left 112 migrants dead or missing.

It was the deadliest shipwreck this year on the dangerous route from North Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

The statement gave no reason Brahem's firing, but officials have cited "security failures" surrounding the capsizing of the small, over-crowded boat that was carrying an estimated 180 people.

The prime minister visited Krekennah Island off the coast of the Mediterranean city of Sfax on Tuesday.


10:30 a.m.

Authorities in Spain say three migrants have been hospitalized after hundreds tried to jump the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish territory of Ceuta, in northern Africa.

The Civil Guard said it had frustrated the early Wednesday morning attempt to cross by around 150 people, most of them Sub-Saharan Africans, while Moroccan authorities stopped an additional 250 from approaching the double fence.

The local office of the Red Cross said it had performed medical checks on six people who crossed to the Spanish side and sent three to the local hospital with bruises and cuts.

The Civil Guard said it was the first mass attempt to jump the fence in at least seven months.

Ceuta and the nearby enclave of Melilla are key entry points for economic migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe.


10:30 a.m.

Albanian police say they have arrested four Albanians for helping 16 Pakistanis and one Syrian, who had crossed the border from neighboring Greece, to illegally reach Western European countries.

The four can be sentenced to up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to 8 million leks ($75,000) if the court finds them guilty.

Though Albania has not been part of the widespread migrant trail toward Western Europe, groups are stopped from time to time trying to reach northern Montenegro.

Earlier this year Tirana reached an agreement with the European Union to get assistance in border management and also deploy teams there to respond to potential flows of migrants.


10:25 a.m.

Tunisia's interior minister has fired 10 security officials amid an investigation into the sinking of a boat carrying migrants trying to reach Europe that left an estimated 112 dead or missing.

It was the deadliest shipwreck this year on the dangerous route from North Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Braham announced late Tuesday the dismissal of 10 people including local police and security chiefs in the coastal city of Sfax and the Krekennah island, based on preliminary investigations into Sunday's sinking.

The Tunisian government has been widely criticized for not grasping the extent of the tragedy. The prime minister visited the island Tuesday to oversee the search operations.

The International Organization for Migration has counted 60 confirmed deaths, 52 people still missing and 68 survivors.

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