Ta' Kandja on Malta was a police training centre. It now houses 355 Africans rescued from the Mediterranean as they tried to enter Europe illegally. In 2003, 502 migrants arrived. Last year, 2,775 did.
Migrants can be held for up to 18 months in what the Maltese call "administrative detention". The accommodation block has modern facilities, but married couples are kept apart and people are locked in.
In January, a UN inquiry described other facilities as "appalling". The government says this is because Malta has the highest number of asylum applicants compared to its size of any EU country.
The migrants say they are grateful, but want their freedom. The 40 women in this room each have a single bed, but must share the toilets and showers. Their guards are men because no women will be.
Malta’s picturesque capital, Valletta, is the first glimpse of Europe for many of the migrants. Most want to reach the European mainland, but end up on Malta as it is nearest to where they are rescued.
Just round the corner from Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi's office, some of the migrants who have been released queue for travel documents.
A former US Coast Guard vessel docked at Valletta, now used by the Armed Forces of Malta. It patrols a search and rescue area from Tunisia in the west to Crete in the east - Europe's southern frontier.
When a boat overloaded with migrants capsizes, crew members sometimes have to choose who to save. One says their job is to prevent the Mediterranean from becoming a graveyard.
The Maltese government thinks other EU states should share the burden. A report on Malta's migration crisis will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend on Sunday, 10 May at 1200 GMT.