Italy's foreign minister Antonio Tajani has called on the European Union and the United Nations to take "strong action" against the "vast and serious" issue of the human trafficking of migrants.
"Our efforts against clandestine immigration and traffickers are not enough without strong action by the EU and the UN," Tajani sai.
Tajani made the remarks after a cabinet meeting in the Calabrian seaside town of Cutro where at least 72 migrants died in a shipwreck last week.
"Because the issue is so vast and serious, strong action by all is needed," Tajani underlined.
The world "is so much more complicated than it was two or three years ago," Tajani said in an apparent reference to the pandemic, Russia's war on Ukraine and Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan among other crises.
"Even the UN said that Italy is right, because we have a problem that must be resolved at multilateral level," Tajani said, referring to remarks on Tuesday by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres' spokesman.
"We are in such a complicated situation and in such a difficult international context that no single country can tackle this problem alone", he reiterated.
The cabinet approved a new decree containing tougher measures to counter human trafficking amid a surge in arrivals, Italy's premier Giorgia Meloni announced on Thursday.
Traffickers could face up to 30 years in jail if migrants perish and up to 16 years in prison for organising crossings, according to a draft of Thursday's decree.
Over 14,430 migrants reached Italy by boat this year with arrivals surging from 5,470 in the same period of 2022.