(ANSAmed) - CAIRO, MAY 22 - In 2011 alone, 560 'unaccompanied children' crossed the sea from Egypt to Italy. Many more could follow their example in 2012. Immigrants continued to arrive from Egypt in constant numbers between September 2011 and January 2012, while the flow from other North African countries has almost come to a halt. These results were revealed by researchers of Save the Children, the organisation that protects children in difficult situations. Save the Children is based in the U.K. and U.S. and has presented a report on Egyptian children and young people who risk their lives to make the voyage to Italy in small boats, under terrible conditions, to look for work. The figures themselves are not very impressive when they are put next to the total numbers of migrants arriving in Italy from various African countries. But they are important considering the national and international protection and rights promised and guaranteed to children, at least in words, allowing them to study, play and develop a balanced personality. ''There is nothing here, while there is work over there,'' said Sami, 12 years old and Sherif, 13, interviewed in Khamara and Abu Qir, two towns on the sea near Alexandria. Small boats carrying 100 people or more start their journey from these places, some of them never reach their destination. This happened for example to Gharbya, a 17-year-old boy from the Nile Delta, who drowned by the end of April. He was thrown out of the boat off the Sicilian coast and tried to reach the coast, but could not swim. ''When they reach Sicily, Calabria or Apulia, most of these children try to go to the three large Italian cities: Rome, Turin and Milan, where Egyptians from Gharbya, Qalyubeya and Assiut have been living there for years. They hope these Egyptians will help them get a better life and find work,'' said Carlotta Bellini, who coordinated the research in Italy. But often these ''uncles'' don't protect them or even abuse them, forcing them into prostitution for example. If they are lucky they will find a job at the general markets or pizza restaurants, or have to harvest fruit and vegetables on the countryside. (ANSAmed).