Migration Media Award: Second Place, Online Category
Author: Louise Hunt
Media: The Guardian
Date of Publication: 6/5/2016
Title: Gambian Migrants Who Risk Death Find Life Less than Sweet in Italy
Short summary: This story for the Guardian’s Global Development section explored the hopes and expectations that are driving thousands of young Gambians to undertake the treacherous illegal route to Europe, against the bleak realities of their lives once they reach Italy. At the time this article was published, Gambians ranked number two in the International Organisation for Migration’s league of most frequent arrivals via the Mediterranean. Overall in 2016, Gambia’s migration rate per population (2 million) ranked the highest out of all African countries, and the numbers of Gambian arrivals increased by 36 per cent. With this story, I was aiming to provide a more nuanced understanding of what is driving the exodus of young people from Gambia, in the context of lack of employment opportunities, high family and social expectations and life under an oppressive regime, and then question whether the response in Europe, which was increasingly to reject Gambian migrants for asylum under the new hot spot system, was helpful. An important element to this report was being able to follow migrants’ experiences from their lives in Gambia to the situation they found themselves in Italy.