Migration Media Award:First Place, Radio Category, French
Author: Francois Hume
Date of Publication: 10/10/2016
Title: Egypt: The Business of Desperation
Short summary: In 2014 and 2015, I had already worked on the living conditions of Syrian migrants in Egypt: chaotic arrival, complications with housing, education of children, daily difficulties. The departures of Syrians, and of migrants in general, from Egypt, were more and more frequent, a real “ecosystem” was being created illegally between Alexandria and Rosette. It took a drama for attention to go a little more on the Egyptian North Coast. A fishing boat with about 450 migrants sank a few miles from the Egyptian coast at the end of September 2016, at least 200 people died in the sinking. When I heard the news, I took the train directly to Alexandria and stayed there for two weeks. More than 25 Egyptian victims came from the same village: Geziret el Khadra. I met relatives, but also smugglers, “brokers”, candidates to leave… the idea was to show the strength of the network, its organisation, and how easy it is to convince people ready to anything to change their lives.
I discovered a very well-run system, with people responsible for recruiting new candidates present in all the major cities of Egypt. But the investigation was very difficult, we were followed, pursued by national security, which seeks to prevent journalists from giving a bad image of the country. The fishermen also accuse the authorities of not having tried to rescue the migrants who drowned at sea. The smugglers accuse high officials of demanding a lot of money to close their eyes on trafficking.
La Méditerranée devenue un cimetière. En 2016, selon l’ONU, 3800 personnes ont péri en tentant de rejoindre l’Europe. La Libye reste un point de départ privilégié pour les migrants, mais le pays est aussi dangereux. Alors, depuis plusieurs mois, les candidats au départ choisissent une nouvelle route : l’Egypte.