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MMC Asia 4Mi Snapshot – May 2022: Afghans en route to Turkey: Access to critical information

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Afghan migration to Turkey is particularly dangerous, and people face protection risks at nearly every stage. Border areas and specific transit hubs present the greatest risks, where there is also a lack of assistance.1 Access to information is therefore essential for refugees and migrants in order to make informed decisions about dangers, routes, means of travel, and any number of other considerations. Better access to information can lead to better decision-making, safer journeys, and greater protection for those en route.
This snapshot examines how Afghans en route to Turkey gather information before and during the journey, what kind of information they have access to, what the gaps are, and which sources of information are the most used and the most trusted. It contributes to a solid evidence base to inform targeted responses on the ground, and advocacy efforts related to migration movements to and through Turkey.
MMC Asia has interviewed 1,540 Afghans who have arrived in Turkey over the past 24 months to better understand their migration experiences, protection risks, and the challenges they face. Turkey has been a host country and transit hub for hundreds of thousands of Afghans escaping persecution, political upheaval, and economic insecurity. Many undertake long and arduous journeys overland via Pakistan and Iran, some hoping to continue onward to other countries, including in Europe. This year, numbers have risen in response to increasing political and economic instability in the lead-up to, and aftermath of, the Taliban takeover. While there have been no recent mass movements across the regions, many speculate that numbers will increase.

Key findings

• Less than half of respondents (47%) reported accessing information about routes, destinations, costs, and risks before starting their journey.

• Family and friends outside Afghanistan are the primary, and most trusted, information source pre-departure.

• Once en route, only 32% of the respondents reported accessing information, and the primary information source shifts to smugglers and other migrants.

• The majority of the respondents (86%) had access to a functional phone en route to Turkey and used it primarily for staying in touch with family and contacting smugglers.

• Only 31% used their phones to get information about their journey en route.

• The most frequently reported information gaps relate to conditions of the journey (40%) and security along the journey (37%).

• Phone calls, in-person conversations, and social media or messaging apps are the primary methods of receiving information.