According to UN figures, 125 minors were among the refugees and migrants prevented from fleeing to Europe off the coast of Libya earlier.
A total of 114 were travelling unaccompanied by adults, the UN children’s agency UNICEF reported in Geneva on Friday.
Libya’s coastguard took most of those picked up to controversial reception centres without enough water or medical care, UNICEF said, adding that violence and exploitation are rife there.
In total, more than 1,100 minors were in the centres, it said.
There are more than 65,000 underage refugees and migrants in the war-torn North African country, often under precarious conditions.
They were threatened with abuse and exploitation.
According to statistics from the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM), almost 500 people have already died in 2021 on the route across the central Mediterranean usually from Libya.
In the entire Mediterranean Sea, according to these figures, there were almost 600.
The rescue organisation Sea-Watch said on Thursday that it had rescued more than 40 people from distress at sea in the central Mediterranean.
The rescue ship Ocean Viking of the aid organisation SOS Mediterranee took 236 people on board on Tuesday, including more than 100 unaccompanied minors.
The organisations are looking for safe ports in Europe to bring those rescued ashore.
UNICEF called on Libya to release minors from reception centres and provide them with adequate care.
It appealed to Europeans to take in arrivals and step up search operations in the Mediterranean.