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North Africa Mixed Migration Hub - Survey Snapshot - Italy | September 2016

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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.


Findings are based on 239 interviews conducted between 3 March and 22 September in Turin, Asti, Milan, Bologna, Modena, Rome, Palermo, Trapani and Castellammare del Golfo.


  • Most respondents started their journey alone (76%).

  • 56% of respondents migrated because of abuse by family, oppression, and persecution by their local community, 22% left for economic reasons, 9% to escape an oppressive government or compulsory military service (mostly Eritrean respondents), 5% to escape forced marriage or female genital mutilation (mainly female migrants from Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire), 4% to escape political persecution, and 4% to escape conflict/war (respondents from Mali,
    Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire and Central African Republic).

  • The average length of journey was 15 months to arrive in Italy.

  • The average time spent in Libya was 3 months for those that came from countries in the Horn of Africa, all of which intended to only pass through Libya en route to Europe.

  • Respondents from West and Central African countries stayed in Libya an average of 14 months, which in part is explained by the 35% of Central and Western African respondents that had originally intended Libya as their final destination.

  • Respondents from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia paid much more to cross the Mediterranean Sea than those originating from West and Central African countries. 21% of respondents did not pay to cross the sea.


  • 44% of respondents started their journey with the intention to settle in another African country. Of those, 73% intended on Northern African countries (65% Libya, 8% other Maghreb countries), and 27% to neighboring Sub Saharan countries.

  • Of those that did not intend to stay in Africa, 19% left without a planned destination, 16% intended to reach Italy and 21% to other European countries (mainly UK, Holland, Germany).

  • 31% of respondents made the journey to Italy as a way to leave Libya after encountering unexpected risks and abuses.


  • 21% of respondents were forced by someone else to cross the Mediterranean Sea (15% by smugglers, 4% by traffickers, and 2% by an employer or “friend”). 17% of respondents arrived in Italy because it is en route to their planned final destination, and 19% because it was perceived as easier to reach. 3% came to Italy for a specific reason, such as because they had relatives or could get a visa.


  • Nigerian respondents witnessed or experienced the following abuses: 82% physical abuse, 74% death, 69% sexual abuse, 66% racism/ discrimination, 58% detention, 53% robbery, 45% forced labour, 40% trafficked/sold, and 21% documents destroyed.

  • 69% of respondents changed their migration plans while en route, primarily because of the difficult conditions encountered at their originally planned destination or because of abuses and dangers encountered in transit.