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North Africa Mixed Migration Hub - Survey Snapshot - Italy | September 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: 662 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 662 respondents in Italy, coming from Nigeria (25.2%), Eritrea (14.2%), Gambia (10%), Côte d’Ivoire (8%),
Bangladesh (7%), Mali (6.5%), Senegal (5.9%), Ghana (4.5%), Guinea (3.3%), Pakistan (2.9%), Cameroon (2%), Sudan (1.5%), Ethiopia (1.4%), Togo (1.4%), Syria (1.1%) as well as (cumulatively 5.1%) Burkina Faso, Morocco, Niger, Sierra Leone, Egypt,
Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR),
Chad, Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Nepal.

Findings in this snapshot are based on 35 surveys conducted during the month of September. The largest group of respondents are from Eritrea (17), while 4 are from Gambia, 3 each from Côte d’Ivoire and Syria, 2 from Sudan and 1 each from Morocco, Nigeria, Mali, Egypt, Chad and Ghana. In terms of demographics, 3 respondents are female while 32 are male. The largest group (23) is between the ages of 18 and 25, while 6 are between the ages of 26 and 31, a further 5 are between the ages of 32 and 40 and 1 respondent is between 40 and 60.


  • 21 respondents reported changing their plans on intended destination during their journey with only 4 of those interviewed beginning their journeys with the intention of reaching Italy. 11 out of the 35 respondents had intended Libya as their final destination, while 9 had initially planned to go to Germany, 1 to Algeria, 1 to Holland, 1 to Finland, 1 to Belgium, 1 to Switzerland, 2 to Sudan, 1 to Niger and 3 reported not having a planned destination.

  • With regards to their intentions to remain in Italy or to travel onwards, 20 reported that they intended to travel onwards while 14 planned to remain in Italy and 1 person at the time of the interview was still undecided. Those who expressed a wish to travel onwards intended to move onto other European countries for the most part with the vast majority reporting Germany, France, and Sweden as their intended destinations. One respondent expressed a wish to return to Eritrea.


  • 16 respondents reported gathering information before undertaking the journey while 19 said that he did not actively seek such information.
    With regards to sources of information, 14 reported the source of information as migrants abroad and/or smugglers, humanitarian organizations and friends/family while 2 reported accessing social media for information.

  • All respondents traveled from Libya to Italy by boat using the services of smugglers. 30 respondents arrived in Libya by car/jeep, 3 flew in directly, 1 arrived by lorry and 1 by bus. The majority of respondents, 20, arrived to Libya from Sudan, 8 from Niger, 2 from Egypt, and 1 each from Algeria and Tunisia. 3 declined to indicate intermediate steps between their countries of origin and Libya.


  • 23 respondents reported witnessing one or more deaths along their journey. Of those who reported witnessing deaths, 22 reported the deaths to have taken place in Libya and 1 reported the death/s to have taken place in the Sahara Desert.

  • Of the 35 interviewees, 30 reported experiencing and/or witnessing physical abuse during their journey. Of those who reported physical abuse, the vast majority (27) said that abuse took place in Libya while 2 said it had taken place in Sudan and 1 person declined to answer the question. Furthermore, a large group of those who reported abuse (12 out of 30) said that smugglers were the perpetrators, 6 said armed groups were responsible for the abuse, 5 said bandits, 2 said police forces were responsible and 1 each said civilians and Asma boys were the culprits. 1 person declined to answer this question.

  • 26 reported experiencing and/or witnessing detention with the majority (23 out of 26) reporting the location of detention as Libya and 3 reporting Sudan. 14 were and/or witnessed others forced into labour. 7 reported having their own or witnessing others’ documents being destroyed in Libya with the majority reporting smugglers and Asma boys as the culprits. 26 respondents reported witnessing and/or experiencing robbery along their journey.