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North Africa Mixed Migration Hub - Survey Snapshot - Italy | August 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: 627
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 627 respondents in Italy, with respondents coming from Nigeria (26.5%), Eritrea (12.3%), Gambia (9.9%), Côte d’Ivoire (8%), Bangladesh (7.3%), Mali (6.7%), Senegal (6.2%), Ghana (4.6%), Guinea (3.6%), Pakistan (3%), Cameroon (2.1%), Togo (1.4%), Ethiopia (1.4%), Sudan (1.3%) as well as (cumulatively 5.9%) Burkina Faso, Morocco, Niger, Sierra Leone, Syria, Egypt, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Nepal.

Findings in this snapshot are based on 34 surveys conducted during the month of August. The largest group of respondents are from Nigeria (14), while 6 are from Eritrea, 3 each from Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, 2 from Gambia and 1 each from Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, Yemen, Ethiopia and Guinea. In terms of demographics, 9 respondents are female while 25 are male and just over half (18) of those interviewed are between the ages of 18 and 25, while 8 are between the ages of 26 and 31 and a further 8 are between the ages of 32 and 40.


  • 14 (41%) of those interviewed reported that they had set out on their journeys with the intention of reaching Italy, while 5 (15%) reported other EU countries (such as France and Germany) as their intended destinations and 1 (3%) reported that Sudan had been his intended destination. A relatively large segment (12 or 35%) reported that they had set out without plans for a particular destination.
  • With regards to their intentions to remain in Italy or to travel onwards, 25 planned to remain in Italy while 8 reported that they intended to travel onwards and 1 was, at the time of the interview, undecided.


  • 19 (56%) respondents reported seeking information before undertaking the journey while 15 (44%) said that they did not actively seek such information. Those who did seek information did so by talking with migrants abroad and/or smugglers, humanitarian organizations and friends/family and/or through accessing social media for information.
  • 2 of those interviewed during the month of August had been returned from Germany to Italy. The remaining 32 respondents travelled to Italy by boat through the Central Mediterranean route using the services of smugglers with 31 of them embarking from Libya and 1 from Egypt. Of those who transited through Libya, 18 had travelled to Libya by jeep, 10 by car, 1 had flown directly in and 1 declined to answer the question.
  • With regards to respondents’ lengths of stay in Libya, 17 reported that they had remained in the country for a period between 1 and 6 months, 7 reported staying between 6 months and 1 year and 5 reported staying between 1 and 2 years, while 3 respondents declined to answer the question.


  • 17 (50%) respondents reported witnessing one or more deaths along their journey. Of those who reported witnessing deaths, 13 reported the deaths to have taken place in Libya and 1 respondent, each, reported that deaths took place at sea, in the desert, in Niger and in Mali. 5 persons said that they had witnessed 1 death each, while 5 had witnessed 5 deaths each and 1 person, each, had witnessed 2, 3 and 10 deaths.
  • Out of the 34 interviewees, 24 (74%) reported experiencing and/or witnessing physical abuse during their journey. Of those who reported such incidence of abuse, the overwhelming majority (20) reported the country where the abuse took place as Libya, while 1 respondent each, reported Egypt, Mali, Niger and Sudan as the site of abuse. Of those reporting physical abuse in Libya, 6 said that civilians were responsible for the violence, 4 had identified the perpetrators as militia members and a further 4 said bandits had been responsible. The remaining respondents identified traffickers, smugglers, police forces and Asma boys as the culprits.
  • 19 (56%) reported experiencing and/or witnessing detention and, of those, 18 reported that the detention took place in Libya while 1 reported that it had taken place in Sudan. 6 respondents said militias were responsible for detention, 4 reported bandits as responsible, 2, each, reported traffickers and civilians as responsible and 1 person each reported police, Asma boys, smugglers, rebels and an employer as responsible.
  • 18 (53%) were and/or witnessed others forced into labour; 15 of those respondents reported that forced labour took place in Libya, while 2 reported it had taken place in Algeria and 1 in Niger. 18 (53%) reported having their own or witnessing others’ documents being destroyed with the majority (14) reporting that they were destroyed in Libya while the others reported that the destruction had taken place in Niger, Algeria and Sudan. 25 (74%) reported witnessing or having experienced robbery along their journey.


“Don’t come to Italy, I have lost a dear friend in the Sea” Male respondent from Cameroon, August.17

“If someone would ask me for an advice, I would tell him to stay home. The stress is too much, they can arrest you, they kill you, they can exploit you any time” Male respondent from Nigeria, August.17

“I would not discourage anyone to find a better life, to have the chance of helping his family, to support your brothers, to reach a good education” Male respondent from Gambia, August.17