Western media is full of stories about the fate of irregular migrants who drown at sea or are abandoned by their smugglers in the desert, but it’s not always clear whether those stories filter back to the countries migrants set out from or whether they are enough to counteract the stories spread via social media of friends and relatives who have made it and are prospering in Europe.
As part of a new campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of migrating irregularly across the Sahara and the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration has launched a website which includes short videos of migrants’ describing their harrowing journeys. Cesar, a young West African, talks about being lost at sea for three days, and Jessica from Equatorial Guinea tells of her imprisonment and rape in Libya. IOM could be accused of scare tactics here, but the risks of this journey are certainly real. More than 3,000 migrants have died attempting the Mediterranean crossing so far this year, and countless more have perished in the Sahara.