By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 11 July 2017:
Around 80 percent of migrants transiting through Libya are men and on average are 22 years old, a study by the UN’s refugee agency the UNHCR has found. Just over 72% of these were travelling alone.
The increasing numbers from West Africa were often seeking better economic conditions in Europe while migrants from East Africa, whose numbers were decreasing, were mostly fleeing persecution.
The report added that women were also often victims of human trafficking, while children mainly come from Eritrea, the Gambia and Nigeria.
The UNHCR survey also found that only 16 percent of would-be migrants have received vocational training or higher education, while 49 percent having little or no formal schooling at all.
“Foreign nationals going to Libya are part of mixed migration flows, meaning that people with different backgrounds and motivations travel together along the same routes, often with the help of ruthless people smugglers and criminal gangs,” the report said.
“They include refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, unaccompanied minors, environmental migrants, victims of trafficking and stranded migrants, among others.”
The study was commissioned by the UNHCR from Altai Consulting, a specialised consultancy that focuses on research, monitoring and evaluation in fragile states and with IMPACT Initiatives, a Geneva-based think-tank that monitors and assesses aid programmes.
Interviews were conducted in the last four months of 2016 in both Africa and Europe.