IOM helps stranded migrants from west and central Africa return home

TMP – 10/04/2017

IOM in Libya and Tunisia, has helped 372 stranded and vulnerable migrants from west and central Africa return home through its assisted voluntary return programme.

171 stranded Nigerian migrants and 141 Gambians returned home by air on 7 and 9 March. Among the returnees were   13 unaccompanied minors and victims of human trafficking.

Gloria, 23,explained how she was detained on various occasions after she arrived in Libya with her husband. Maris, another Nigerian returnee, told IOM how she was forced to work as a hairdresser without any pay in terrible conditions.

The return flights were arranged in coordination with the Libyan, Nigerian and Gambian authorities. IOM provided pre-departure interviews and medical check-ups.

All those returned are eligible for reintegration support that will give them the opportunity to launch small businesses or to continue their education. The support is funded by the Italian government.

In addition, IOM Tunisia assisted 61 stranded migrants from Senegal, Guinea, Chad and Côte d’Ivoire to return home from Tunisia on 7 March. The migrants had fled the insecurity in Libya and were staying temporarily in a migrant shelter managed by the Tunisian Red Crescent.

“I am glad to return back home and get back to my life in Senegal, after all the troubles I went through during my time in Libya,” said Mohamed. “I won’t try to reach Europe by boat again – it is too risky and this is not a solution for myself, or my family,” he explained.

IOM’s latest report indicates that the number of migrants arriving in Tunisia from Libya has increased this year. As conditions for migrants in Libya are getting increasingly worse, many see no other option but to flee to Tunisia to find temporary safety and eventually return home from there.