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 Tunisia 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.
These findings are based on 147 interviews conducted between 29 March and 30 June and 1 August and 30 October in Medenine, Sfax,
Tunis, and Zarzis regions of Tunisia.
- 24% of all respondents were in a regular situation with temporary tourist visas at the time of interview*, 66% were in irregular situations (without valid visa), the remaining 10% were refugees and asylum seekers.
*This section focuses on young migrant football players who travelled to Tunisia to seek opportunities to play football professionally. As this trend was noticed in earlier interviews, the decision was made to look into their vulnerabilities. This evolving trend seems to be active as a modus operandi for the recruitment and transport of young males to Tunisia to play football.
Of the 35 respondents that came to Tunis with the intention to play football, they came from Cote D’Ivoire (57%), Mali (26%), Cameroon (6%), Guinea (6%), Burkina Faso (3%) and Liberia (3%).
71% of these respondents were between 18 - 25 years old, 26% were under 18 and the remaining 3% were older than 25.
All male respondents that came to Tunisia to play football were approached by a “manager” in their country of origin that encouraged and facilitated their journey with the promise that they will play on a local team.
Only 11% of respondents that came to Tunisia to play football had managed to enter a team. Only 1 respondent succeeded in signing a five year contract.
Respondents that paid a “manager” to go to Tunisia declared that very often, their family had to sell a piece of land or borrow the money to cover the expenses that amount between 3500 - 5000 USD. The network of “managers” that engage the respondents are mainly from the same countries as the respondent (86%), with only 14% of those in touch with a Tunisian manager since arriving.
50% of the footballers interviewed in October felt positive (happy) about being in Tunisia even without a contract because they were able to train most days. The majority of these respondents cited receiving financial support from families back home.
The remaining 50% were very unhappy, describing their situation as very difficult, often feeling that the “manager” cheated them by taking their money but providing no support to get on a team or a contract once in Tunisia.
A few unhappy footballer respondents (10%) approached the IOM for assistance to return to their country of origin after being unable to afford accommodation and ending up in the streets.
In the previous months, the majority of football players encountered came mainly from Côte d’Ivoire, however in October those encountered to interview were 40% from Mali, 35% from Côte d’Ivoire, and 10% from Cameroon.
*This 24% has been included in the sample as the respondents indicated intention to stay.