The path of illegal migrants is fraught with risks and dangers from the moment they begin on their journey. The issues do not necessarily end once migrants arrive at their destination.
The Deadly Trip:
- Before they leave, migrants are housed by smugglers in large groups for several days in transit governorates such as Damietta, Alexandria or Behera. The conditions are poor, with migrants living with little access to fresh water, food or air. The migrants are not allowed to talk, make noise or contact their families since they are being held in secret locations away from the eyes of authorities.
- Under the cover of darkness, migrants are forced to board vehicles for hours that take them to remote spots along the Mediterranean coast.
- If the vehicles are not stopped by authorities or coast guards, the migrants must then begin their trek by sea. They are forced to board small fishing boats or dinghies that are not necessarily seaworthy or safe and are often dangerously overcrowded. Sometimes migrants have to swim to reach their boat. In addition, migrants have reported being injured while trying to board due to darkness and engine hazards.
- After sailing away from the coast, migrants are transferred to larger vessels at sea. Most are required to jump, resulting in other injuries or drowning. Again, these larger vessels do not meet safety standards and can be in poor shape. Access to food, water and bathrooms is restricted for the duration of the trip.
- Nearing the end of the journey, the vessels are abandoned by their smuggler crews, leaving the migrants to fend for themselves. In the case of stormy weather or rough seas, the boats often capsize or tip before they can be rescued by European coast guards, leading to fatalities. None of the migrants have lifejackets or safety equipment.
- International humanitarian groups and agencies have reported that illegal migrants who evade detection by Italian authorities and come to live in Italy illegally face a wide range of human