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North Africa Mixed Migration Hub - Survey Snapshot - Italy | June 2017

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  • MHub is undertaking field surveys with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers along key migratory routes to build up a body of data over time and to map country and regional level mixed migration trends.
  • This snapshot presents early survey findings of the profiles, intentions and experiences of those moving in mixed migration flows who have recently arrived in Italy in the last year.
  • Though these findings cannot be considered statistically representative of the migration population, they do provide key insights into the migration process.


Cumulative surveys: 558

This snapshot forms part of a wider, ongoing data gathering project with respondents who have recently transited the Central Mediterranean route through North Africa on their way to Europe. To date, data has been gathered from 523 respondents in Italy, with respondents coming from Nigeria (25.6%), Eritrea (12%), Gambia (10.1%), Cote d'Ivoire (8.1%), Bangladesh (7.8%), Mali (6.6%), Senegal (6.4%), Ghana (4.9%), Guinea (3.4%), Pakistan (3.2%), Cameroon (2.2%), Togo (1.5%), Ethiopia (1.4%), Sudan (1.4%) as well as (cumulatively 5.4%) Burkina Faso, Morocco, Niger, Sierra Leone, Syria, Egypt, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Nepal.

Findings in this snapshot are based on 35 surveys conducted during the month of June. The majority of those interviewed are from Bangladesh (22), while 9 are from Pakistan, 2 from Nigeria and 1 each from Nepal and Sierra Leone. All respondents are male with 20 between the ages of 18 and 25, 8 between the ages of 26 and 31 and 6 between the ages of 32 and 40.


  • 30 respondents reported changing their plans on intended destination during their journey with only 3 (9%) of those interviewed beginning their journeys with the intention of reaching Italy. The vast majority, 25 (76%) out of 35 respondents, had intended Libya as their final destination, while 1 had initially planned to go to Dubai, 1 to Egypt, 1 to Norway, 1 to Sudan and 1 reported not having a planned destination.


  • 34 (97%) respondents reported seeking information before undertaking the journey while only 1 (3%) said that he did not actively seek such information. With regards to sources of information, 32 reported receiving information by talking with migrants abroad and/or smugglers, humanitarian organizations and friends/family while 2 reported accessing social media for information.
  • The most significant portion of respondents, 29 out of 35 (83%) reported flying directly into Libya, while 3 arrived by jeep, 1 by car and 1 by bus. 1 person declined to answer the question. 17 respondents travelled to Libya from Turkey, 7 from Sudan, 3 from Egypt, 2 from Tunisia and 1 each from Niger and Qatar. The remaining 4 respondents declined to answer the question. Despite the range of departure points, 34 out of 35 respondents reported using the services of smugglers for this segment of their journey and all 35 reported choosing the route themselves.
  • With regards to respondents' lengths of stay in Libya, 10 reported staying for a period between 1 and 6 months, 13 reported staying between 6 months and 1 year, 7 reported staying between 1 and 2 years and 3 reported staying in Libya for a period exceeding 2 years. 2 respondents declined to answer the question.


  • 18 (51%) respondents reported witnessing one or more deaths along their journey. Of those who reported witnessing deaths, 14 reported the deaths to have taken place in Libya, 9 in the desert and 3 at sea. Of the 35 interviewees, 25 (71%) reported experiencing and/or witnessing physical abuse during their journey. Of those who reported witnessing and/or experiencing physical abuse, the vast majority (25) reported Libya as the location of such abuse while 1 respondent reported such abuse to have taken place in Turkey. Furthermore, 11 interviewees reported smugglers as the perpetrators of physical abuse while 1 respondent reported official forces as the perpetrators and 13 reported other groups (such as bandits and/or employers) as the culprits. 22 (63%) interviewees reported experiencing and/or witnessing detention and 19 (54.3%) were and/or witnessed others forced into labour. 22 (63%) reported witnessing or having experienced robbery along their journey. It is noteworthy that none of the respondents reported either having their own or witnessing others' documents being destroyed.


"I started my journey in Pakistan, once in Dubai, smugglers proposed me to continue the journey to Libya. My initial intention was to try to settle down in Dubai, but it was quite hard to find a job. Instead, smugglers said that working in Libya was easy. I was put in a prison for 30 days. When I finally managed to pay the ransom, 1900 USD, I asked to be taken back to my country. They said this was not possible, I did not have a passport anymore. Some other Pakistani and I decided to move further, Libya was too dangerous. This is how we got to Italy" Male respondent from Pakistan, June.2017

"I came here to Italy because the economic situation was not good anymore in Libya. It's common not to be paid, and to be beaten by employers, so what was the point of staying there?" Male respondent from Bangladesh, June.2017 "I worked as a farmer next to Tripoli for 6 months without being paid. When I asked for my payment, the employer tried to kill me. His stabbed me everywhere, on my feet, on my throat, on all my junctures" Male respondent from Bangladesh, June.2017

"As soon I landed in Tripoli, at the airport, smugglers confiscated my passport. This also happened to all my Bangladeshi acquaintances and friends" Male respondent from Bangladesh, June.2017

"In Bangladesh, Madaripur, I have two children. My wife is home looking after them. Sometimes ago we lost our land because of a flood. I started working in a clothes factory, from 8 in the morning to 9 in the evening, only one day off per week, for 90 dollars per month. It was very hard. I thought that leaving to Libya was my only chance to change my life" Male respondent from Bangladesh, June.17