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Global Migrant Deaths Decline, but Tragedies Continue Worldwide

Geneva – As 2019 draws to a close, the International Organization for Migration reports that there has been a sharp decline in the number of migrants dying while attempting to cross international borders.

Migrant fatalities reached at least 3,170 by mid-December, compared to just over 4,800 this time last year, representing a 34 per cent fall. Despite this, the trends identified by IOM in 2019 remain stark for migrants and for refugees.
The Mediterranean, the scene of countless tragedies at sea in recent years, recorded the lowest level of deaths and crossings since 2014. However, the death rate among migrants departing Libya’s shores increased as smugglers put them at ever great risk.

The outflow of people from Venezuela has meanwhile left millions of people in severe hardship as they attempt to escape instability to seek opportunities and protection in neighbouring countries.

The emerging trends highlighted by IOM in 2019 include:

Global deaths of migrants crossing borders irregularly declined sharply
Mediterranean sea crossings reached their lowest level since 2014P
Horn of Africa crossings to Yemen now average over 10,000 persons per month
4.8 million Venezuelans are living abroad, mostly in Colombia, Perú, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil
Mediterranean Sea crossings by irregular migrants from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia
Irregular migration via departure points in Turkey, Libya and across North Africa topped 100,000 men, women and children for the sixth consecutive year. More than 13,000 migrants entered Europe via land routes along the Mediterranean, either by entering Greece near border crossings with Turkey, or entering Spain through the two Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa.

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Global Migrant Deaths

While 100,000 is significant, the volume of Mediterranean crossings in 2019 shows a steep decline over recent years (see chart above). In fact, barring a year-end surge, 2019 will see the lowest number of irregular migrants on the Mediterranean since IOM began compiling such statistics in 2014.

LIBYA

While departures from Libya decreased in 2019, the journey remains as deadly as ever. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded 44 fatal incidents off the Libyan coast this year claiming the lives of 743 migrants. This signals the needs for increased search and rescue capacity to minimize loss of life at sea, especially in the Central Mediterranean Route, which remains the world’s deadliest sea crossing.

HORN OF AFRICA

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in 2019 recorded 126,360 irregular migrants through November crossing to Yemen from the Horn of Africa, the vast majority (92 per cent) leaving from Ethiopia with most of the balance from Somalia. DTM estimates this year’s total will surpass 137,000 migrants on this route, which remains one of the most dangerous in the world.

The total is expected to represent a slight decline from the nearly 160,000 irregular migrants tallied on this route during 2018. Over the past two years, irregular migration between this corridor of Africa headed towards the Arabian Peninsula has averaged upwards of 12,000 per month.

Read Also: ‘No Olvidado’: These Americans find and bury missing migrants

MIGRANTS IN EUROPEAN RECEPTION CENTRES

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As of 15 December, DTM reports there were an estimated 211,071 migrants in official reception centres in the region.1 While there has been little change in the total number of migrants in the region when compared to the 206,108 migrants in the same countries at the end of 2018, the figures per country show different dynamics: The most significant changes have been in Italy and Greece. In Italy, the total has fallen throughout 2019 from 135,838 reported on December 2018 to 95,020 reported on 30 November. In Greece, the total has risen from 60,083 reported on 26 December 2018 to 99,142 on 30 November.

TURKEY

As of 30 November 2019, there were over four million foreign nationals present in Turkish territory seeking international protection, compared to 3.9 million at the end of 2018. Most of them are Syrians (3,691,333 individuals) who are granted temporary protection status, followed by asylum-seekers and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Somalia. The Turkish Coast Guard reported 56,778 apprehensions of irregular migrants at sea between January and November.

MISSING MIGRANTS

Irregular migration continues to be a lethal endeavor around the world, with the Mediterranean corridor still the deadliest. Through mid-December at least 1,250 men, women and children had died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean, including eight new victims reported on 17 December by authorities in Morocco.

This year marks the fifth straight of at least 1,000 deaths on the Mediterranean. IOM’s Missing Migrants project reports that, since 2014, more than 19,000 migrants and refugees have died on the Mediterranean Sea, more than two thirds of that total perishing on the central Mediterranean route linking Libya and Tunisia to Italy.

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Worldwide, migrant fatalities through 50 weeks of 2019 are slightly more than 3,170, compared to nearly 4,831 at this same time last year. Fatalities are down on the Mediterranean, in North Africa and the Middle East and Asia, and up slightly in Europe.

By contrast, the number of migrant fatalities in the Western Hemisphere is up. Hundreds have died fleeing Venezuela, including in shipwrecks in the Caribbean. Through Mid-December at least 659 men, women and children have died crossing the Americas, which compares with 583 during the same period last year.

IOM DTM Europe Flow Monitoring

(www.iom.int.news)

 

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Human trafficking: PJI  urges proper trauma management for returnees

The Pathfinder Justice Initiative (PJI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has called for proper trauma care for migrant returnees to prevent them from becoming vulnerable to subsequent trafficking.

Evon Benson-Idahosa, the Executive Director, PJI, made the call at a Rehabilitation Workshop for Providers Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking held in Benin on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by PJI and funded by INSighT- Building Capacity to deal with human trafficking and transit routes to Nigeria, Italy and Sweden.

Benson-Idahosa said that a majority of returnee-migrants usually undergo different traumatic situations and needed to be properly rehabilitated before being integrated back into the society. She noted that if the migrant returnees were not properly rehabilitated, they would not be able to put into good use any form of skills acquisition or empowerment received.

“Providers serving survivors should know how to handle traumatised victims because many of them, especially females, have been raped and have gone through horrible experiences during their trafficking journey.

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“The providers should know that there are best practices in terms of handling trafficked victims; they need to use a survivor centred approach to prioritise the needs of the victims,” she said.

She called on the government at all levels to partner more with NGOs on providing best traumatic care for returned migrants in the country.

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How Nigerian-American police officer burst human trafficking syndicate in US

A retried Nigerian American Police officer, Samuel Balogun  narrated how he  burst a human trafficking syndicate that specialized in using minors for prostitution.

“My biggest accomplishment was bursting a human trafficking crime,” Balogun said.

Giving details of how he executed the task,  the dark skinned retired police officer said: “ There was a guy that was using minors for prostitution on the internet.  I have an accent and when I speak people know I am an African. So, I had to go undercover and had to call the guy on the internet.  I said ‘ hey! what is going on, I am in town. I am a truck driver and I want some girls.’ I asked  how old? He said the younger they are, the more money. I said about 15 to 16 years. He said ok.  I asked  how many he could bring and he replied two. He said which hotel was I and I gave the name to him. He told me to hang up and  he called back  the hotel. He subsequently called me and asked if I was there and I said yes. He said he would be there in 20 minutes.

“We were waiting for him to come but he was smart too. He dropped the girls down the street and made them walk to the room. The girls asked how much I was ready to pay and wanted to take off their clothes but I said not yet.  In the next room were officers listening to our conversation. When I make a signal, that means it is time for them to come in. but before you make the signal, you have to make sure they have mentioned the price, they have given the reason why they were there, so it doesn’t look like you are entrapping them.  When I made the signal, the officers burst in and arrested everybody including me.

Thereafter, Balogun said  the police  processed the girls and after that, “they said look, you are minors and we know somebody is pushing you to do this. Now we don’t want to arrest you but tell us how to get to the boss.  The girls cooperated and  made as if they were leaving. When the man pulled up to pick them up, and that was how we arrested  him. That stopped a lot of those crimes.”

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Balogun said he was in Nigeria to bring his wealth of experience to bear on the disturbing security situation in the country. “ I am trying to bring back  my experience as a  police officer in the states to Nigeria. When you look at the #endsars period, the performance of the police was something that hurt my feelings. How can we make it better? How can we make the police job something that people will look with respect  and want to join?”

He hinted that his  security firm is involved in training not only police officers but “ I also train private security companies. I am in touch with a lot of private security companies in Nigeria.  There is another concept which Nigeria is embracing right now.

“It is called community policing. In the states it is called neighbourhood policing or community policing. It works in a way that in every street, there would be a police officer that lives in that neighbourhood.   You get to know the people and the people know you. In some apartments, they will give you a discount just for the police officer to be there because they know once a police officer is living there, the police car is outside and the crime level will reduce. People are more likely to talk to that officer because they know him. They are more able to tell him’ hey we know who committed that crime.’  For every crime, you need people to tell you what happened. You can have all the gadgets but if people are not talking, you can’t solve the crime.”

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He further said: “I am training police officers, security companies and executive protection. What my security company is doing is to free the police officers from attachment to chiefs, politicians and all that.  We train civilians to represent those officers so that they can go back to the street and do their normal jobs.  We have what we call executive protection/training. We have people that follow the president.  We can train you on how to be efficient and sometimes using less force, description tactics.”

Further expatiating on what his security firm does, the soft spoken officer said: “What my company is trying to do is to bring people to the table.  We are trying to train companies that there is a better way of security where we can teach you how to defend yourself, how to prepare for any emergency, and how to use less force. I have a guy, a navy seal that worked for the United States of America. You will be amazed about what he can do. He can disarm you in a minute even when you come with AK 47.    I am also bringing Hostage Negotiation, people that can talk to you when ransom has to be paid. In the US, we call it Hostage Negotiation.  They can talk to these people, and know their psyche. It is a full package. When you come  to my firm, you can see the whole spectrum  and choose.”

As a vastly travelled person, Blagun said: “I travel a lot and in all the African nations is where you see officers with AK 47. They said it is more intimidating. Criminals use AK 47 in America too but we still don’t carry it.  Is that the right weapon for the police officers, I leave that question open. “

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On the attitude of the Nigerian authorities his plans, he said: “I have talked to a lot of people in higher positions. In some places I don’t want to mention, I have got good responses.  My firm has done some things with certain private firms and the police. I have dealt with some highly placed security firms. So, this is not my first time here.  We are   looking at having training in Sheraton around July/August this year. It is going to be a big one. I am bringing a retired FBI agent, a navy seal, a retired marine , myself and may be two other officers.

“This is my country, I am proud of it. I am sad sometimes when you look at the security aspect of it.  With my experience, I am trying to make it a better place.  It has always been my passion to come back home. I am retired and don’t really need to work again. My benefits are okay untill I die.  But why die with all this experience when I can pass it to the next person.”

 

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Hundreds of thousands of people leave Britain due to pandemic

 

Hundreds of thousands of people have left Britain as a fallout  of the pandemic on the economy, according to a study released yesterday.

There is an “unprecedented exodus” of workers born outside Britain, researchers at London’s Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence said.

“It seems that much of the burden of job losses during the pandemic has fallen on non-UK workers and has manifested itself in return migration, rather than unemployment,” said the authors.

The study is based on labour market data.

The trend was particularly notable in London, where one in five residents was born abroad.

The capital’s population has fallen by 700,000, the study said, adding that nationwide, the figure could be more than 1.3 million.

If these numbers are accurate, this is the largest decline in Britain’s population since World War II, according to the study.

No evidence suggests that similar numbers of British people who live abroad are returning to Britain.

However, this could be a temporary trend, the researchers said, noting that workers from abroad might return after the pandemic.

The British economy depends on workers from abroad and it is not only threatened by migration due to the pandemic.

Many industries fear the loss of skilled workers due to Britain’s departure from the European Union and stricter migration laws.

A further trend in 2021 is also causing concern, described as a “baby bust” by consultancy PwC, which said many couples were postponing having children due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

This could lead to the lowest birth rate since 1900, PwC said in early January.

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