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14 June 2017

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Migrants cross the desert town of Agadez, Niger on their way to Libya. File photo: IOM/Amanda Nero 2016

Migrants Risking Death, Abuse for New Lives

Germany - Firaz, a 22-year-old refugee from the Syrian civil war, almost drowned crossing the Mediterranean in an overloaded boat with a broken motor, writes Petra Kaminsky.

"This is just a business for these people," he says of the smugglers who helped him leave his homeland, slip into Turkey and eventually reach Berlin.

Firaz's journey cost him about 2,500 euros (USD 2,800) and also saw him march, under the cover of darkness, from one border to another, carrying false documents provided for him.

Omar, 31, is one of the many smugglers making a living from helping people like Firaz cross the border between Syria and Turkey.

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Rescued migrants at the port of Augusta in Sicily, Italy. File photo: Francesco Malavolta/IOM 2015

Why Closing Borders Doesn’t Stop Smugglers

The demand for smugglers' services increases when barriers to migration become bigger, experts say, and more "safe and legal routes" are needed for refugees and migrants.

Switzerland - Closed borders and deterrence have failed to reduce human smuggling or cut the number of refugees and irregular migrants on the move, writes Annegret Mathari.

On the contrary, the demand for smugglers' services increases when barriers to migration become bigger, experts say.

"The function of a smuggler is to facilitate movement where people can’t move for themselves; so the harder it is for migrants to move, the more smugglers are required," says Tuesday Reitano, deputy director of the Geneva-based Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime.

Smugglers are the symptom, not the cause, of the current challenging situations at many land, sea and air borders across the world, says Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

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Natasha: "I had accepted my place as an outsider in America, but realizing that I was an outsider in Japan as well was heartbreaking."
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For the latest Mediterranean Update data on arrivals and fatalities please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe 


Rumour Has It: A Practice Guide to Dealing with Rumours in Humanitarian Response
From the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network
Download guide here

IOM case study on page 29


"All migrant children are entitled to care and protection regardless of their migratory status." –  IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. Read more here.


Migration in the News

  • Channel 1 and Just Earth News reported about the Global Conference on Children on the Move, in Berlin, Germany where more than 20 UN and civil society organizations gathered to discuss the rights of children, especially children on the move.

  • USA Today reported that the number of migrants who entered Europe in the first half of 2017 is 35 per cent of the number from a year ago.

  • AFP reported that the smuggling capital of Africa, Agadez, is a crossroads of hope and shattered dreams where would-be migrants headed for a better life in Europe cross paths with others who failed to make it and are heading home.

  • AFP reported about sub-Saharan African migrants who make desperate attempts to reach Europe via war-torn Libya, a major transit point for migrants looking to cross the Mediterranean.

  • AFP reported about the explosion in the number of Nigerian women trafficked into Europe.

  • Reuters reported that about 800 people fell ill in a mass outbreak of food poisoning at a camp for displaced people east of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

  • Quartz reported that Ghanaians are increasingly among the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on Europe’s southern shores.

  • Australia’s ABC reported that asylum seekers at Manus Island are suing the Commonwealth for allegedly breaching its duty of care by holding them in conditions which did not meet Australian standards and caused them physical and psychological harm.

  • Euronews reported from Kutupalong in Bangladesh, where a refugee camp and makeshift settlement now provide shelter for some 66,000 Undocumented Myanmar Nationals.

Trending on the Internet

  • Bangkok Post reported about the Thai education law that allows children of migrant workers to study in state schools with financial support, the same as Thai children.


Media Contacts
For interviews and other media requests, please contact the IOM Media and Communications team here.