Excerpt:

The year 2017 marked what Italian authorities hope was a turning point in the nation's struggle to manage a chaotic and deadly rush of migrants to its shores.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni this week called it a pivotal moment in Italy's "historic transition from immigration managed by criminals to controlled, legal and safe migration".

While migrants who made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in rickety boats still numbered nearly 119,000, it was a roughly one-third drop over the previous year.

However, Italy's effort to tackle the issue has not been without controversy, including its moves to enlist the help of powerful militias to curb traffickers' activity.


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