Members of the Greek coast guard rescue migrants and asylum seekers from an overcrowded rubber dinghy off the coast of Lesbos, October 2015.
Zalmaï / Human Rights Watch

As she was about to board an overcrowded rubber dinghy on the Turkish coast late one October afternoon, Hanan, 22 years old and pregnant, felt her water break. The Turkish gang smuggling desperate migrants and asylum seekers across a narrow stretch of the Aegean Sea to the Greek island of Lesbos pushed her onto the boat anyway, along with more than 50 other people, and forced it to set off. 

Hanan gave birth to a baby on the rocks at the beach at Lesbos, assisted by a volunteer aid worker from Iceland. My photographer and I, who had come to Lesbos for Human Rights Watch to document the plight of those making the dangerous crossing, arrived soon after. Next to the new mother, we found two young girls writhing in pain: smugglers had placed them at the bottom of the boat, piling dozens of adults on top of them, and their limbs

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