“Irregular migration brought me nothing but despair,” says Eritrean migrant

*Daniel, a young Eritrean refugee left his home country in 2014 in search of a better life. After a brief stay in Adi-Harush refugee camp, Daniel began searching for ways to fulfill his dream of going to Europe.

In early 2015, Daniel along with others from the refugee camp decided to embark on the dangerous migration journey to Europe via the Sahara desert and Libya.  But the journey did not go as planned. Daniel and his friends were captured at the Sudan-Libya border by smugglers who sold them to a criminal gang and took them to Libya.

Daniel recalled the traumatic and harrowing experience at the hands of criminal networks in Libya. “Everyone is prone to thirst, hunger, beating, and even rape,” said Daniel.

Daniel was held for ransom in Libya and forced to call his family to plead for the ransom money.

“As every abductee would be forced to do, I had to call my family in Asmara to raise the requested USD 1,800 ransom money,” said Daniel.

Daniel’s family could not afford to pay the high ransom costs but eventually his relatives raised the money and Daniel was released. “When the money reached my abductors, I got released and decided to turn back to Sudan,” said Daniel.

Daniel’s story did not end there. Two months after his release and return to Sudan, Daniel decided to try again. On the second attempt, Daniel was abducted in Libya and his relatives were again forced to raise the ransom money. Exhausted and degraded, Daniel finally decided to return to Ethiopia and now lives in Hitsats refugee camp.

“My parents passed away when I was young and my grandparents were the ones who raised me. My dream was to go to Europe and make a better life for them and myself. But irregular migration brought me nothing but despair,” said Daniel.

*Names have been changed for confidentiality

TMP – 22/10/2020

Photo credit: Shutterstock. Photo caption: African migrant