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Fortress Italia – Part 1

Meeting the migrants who risk their lives to travel from North Africa to Italy via Lampedusa.

On October 3, 2013, over 360 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after their boat capsized near the island of Lampedusa. The geographical proximity of Lampedusa to the north coast of Africa has caused it to become one of Europe's gateways for migrants, who each week arrive in Italy by sea in droves.

The majority of the migrants are fleeing war in Syria and Eritrea's repressive regime in search of a better life. But unscrupulous traffickers and unsafe vessels often lead to many not surviving the journey. And under current European immigration laws, those who succeed in reaching Italian shores often end up stuck there.

In the first half of 2014, over 63,000 migrants arrived at Italy's shores. Of those attempting to make the deadly journey to Europe, over 3,000 migrants have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration. Following the October 2013 tragedy, and amid pressure from the international community, Italy vowed to put some measures in place to help control the problem, and save lives.

VICE News headed to Lampedusa one year after the disaster to find out how Italy's soon to be defunct sea rescue mission, Mare-Nostrum, along with regulations such as the Dublin Treaty, are affecting the influx of migrants.