Migrants & Smugglers
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This comic is based on research done in the Casamance area of Senegal, conducted by Doudou Crueye, of the University of .Assane Seek, Ziguinchor, Senegal in collaboration with Priya Deshingkar, of the University of Sussex, UK. Return migrants. the families of migrants and smugglers were interviewed in villages of origin and points of transit along the border. In the last decade there has been an intensification of border controls through sea patrols as well as measures such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Regional Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings and Smuggling of Migrants in West and Central Africa (2015-20). This has resulted in an increase in irregular migration and a diversification of routes over land and sea to evade detection. The research shows that the criminalisation of migrant smuggling has not succeeded in eliminating the practice. Risk-awareness campaigns do not deter irregular migrants as there are complex sociocultural reasons for migrating. The migration industry in the Cassamance is characterised by a plurality of actors who work either together or independently and who may have fluid roles depending on the need of the moment and their capacity to find innovative solutions to a particular problem. While some of them have networks extending to origin and major destinations. others are work on their own and simply pass migrants to the next intermediary without any accountability. In such a mercenary environment it is no surprise that Marabouts or fortune tellers assume such importance. Migrants and their families spend vast amounts of money seeking their blessings. The research concludes that efforts need to be made to open up more channels for legal migration and labour circulation.
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