A new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed that African migrants who use illegal routes to travel to Europe would still do it again despite the dangers.
There have been reports of many migrants dying in the Mediterranean and the desert as well as being sold into slavery in north Africa.
But despite these dangers many of these irregular migrants say they would still make such journeys again without regretting.
Almost all the 2,000 irregular migrants surveyed in the report had experienced danger on their journey to Europe.
But only two per cent of the 2,000 interviewed said that greater awareness of the risks would have caused them to stay home.
Painting a clearer picture
The Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe study was produced to paint a clearer picture of “why irregular migrants move from Africa to Europe.”
1,970 migrants from 39 African countries in 13 European nations were interviewed. They all self-declared that they arrived in Europe through irregular means and not for asylum or protection-related reasons.
For these migrants securing a job and a descent livelihood forced them to travel to Europe through irregular means.
But the findings also revealed surprisingly that not all those who subjected themselves to treacherous journeys to Europe did so because they were ‘poor’ in Africa.
58 per cent of those surveyed “were either employed or in school at the time of their departure, with the majority of those working earning competitive wages.”
What the migrants said
One Migrant was quoted in the report as saying that “If you have a family, you have to ensure they have food, shelter, medicine, and education. I have a young daughter.
People may ask what kind of father I am, to leave behind my wife and infant daughter. But what kind of a father would I be, if I stayed and couldn’t provide them a decent life?”
Another migrant said “It was all to earn money. Thinking of my mom and my dad. My big sister. My little sister. To help them. That was my pressure. That’s why Europe.”
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator said the study “highlights that migration is a reverberation of development progress across Africa, albeit progress that is uneven and not fast enough to meet people’s aspirations.
Barriers to opportunity, or ‘choice-lessness’, emerge from this study as critical factors informing the calculation of these young people.”