North Africa Mixed Migration Hub - Survey Snapshot - Italy | November 2016
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.
Findings are based on 305 interviews conducted between 3 March and 22 November in Asti, Bologna, Castellammare del Golfo, Milan, Modena, Palermo, Rome, Trapani, and Turin.
Beginning their journey, 34% of respondents intended their final destination to be in a Magreb country, 33% to reach a European country (14% to Italy in particular), 30% to Libya, 17% had no predetermined final destination, and 14% considered a sub Saharan African country their original intended destination. The remaining 2% planned on locations such as the USA or Israel.
Respondents that began their journey in 2016 and arrived in Italy the same year were found to be more likely to have planned Europe as their destination than those respondents that began their journey and arrived in Italy the previous year.
More than half of respondents (53%) started their journey without having first obtaining information on the route and its related risks.
86% of respondents were surprised/shocked by what they encountered on their journey (in terms of conditions and risks). The number increased to 91% when only female respondents are considered.
Had they known the actual risks of their journey/route beforehand, 56% of respondents would have made different choices on their journey. Of those, 43% would not have left their country of origin and 13% would have taken a different route.
61% of respondents changed their intended destination en route after encountering unexpected risks and abuses.
The longer the migration journey, the higher the likelihood that migration plans and intended destination will change.
Responses show an increase in departures from Sabrata, Libya to Italy (5% in 2015 vs 20% in 2016). This is supported by media reports that indicate Sabrata and an important location for an emerging smuggling network. Currently no correlation is seen between cities of boat departure from Libya and specific nationalities.
Eritrean respondents tend to have the longest journey averaging 28 months from departure to arrival in Italy. This journey may include stops in Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and Libya.
Eritreans who stopped in Ethiopia en route, spent an average of 9 months there, in some cases staying in refugee camps while awaiting more money from home for onward travel. On average, Eritrean respondents spent more than half their average journey time in Sudan (16 months) where they stopped to work to save money or to wait for relatives to send money, both for the purpose to continue on their migration journey.
Eritrean respondents tended to spend shorter timespans in Egypt— averaging a four month stopover period— while the average length of stay for Eritrean respondents in Libya was 6 months.
RISKS AND ABUSES
Of respondents that reported being forced to cross the Mediterranean Sea against their will, those from Cote d’Ivoire were the highest at 66%, followed by those from Nigeria and Gambia at around 50%.
72% of female Nigerian respondents reported being forced to cross the Mediterranean Sea (some identified themselves or were identified as victims of sex trafficking). 42% came from Nigeria’s Edo State.