Returning migrants in Côte d'Ivoire: the fight against smugglers
April 01, 2019
Credits: REUTERS/Luc Gnago
Adama is a repentant. Arrived from Abidjan about five years ago, he has been a smuggler for two and a half years. He prefers the term "direct seller", who helped candidates (on average fifteen a month) reaching Europe.
"At that time, I was in Daloa. Before accepting one's request, I used to talk with his or her family. If we eventually managed to come to an agreement, I contacted the correspondents we had in the different cities. When the person arrived in Agadez, the family had to pay the rest of the money."
At the time, from Côte d'Ivoire to Libya, it took 600,000 CFA francs. From Ivory Coast to Italy, we took 900-950,000.
Adama spent a year in prison because of his activity. Today, he helps raising awareness on irregular migration, when he is not in his small carpentry shop. According to him, a few years ago Daloa counted about 30 smugglers. Most of them now vanished.
Migration is slowing down. As a consequence of national policies, says Yaya Sylla, the first deputy mayor who started fighting against smugglers.
"At first, it is necessary to reintegrate those who used to be smugglers. It's easier to spot them if they are not from Daloa. Then we play at the awareness raising level. And as an authority, we make sure we can put youth to work. Because everything starts from there. We have a lot of programs in place for youth employment."
For years, NGOs and youth organizations have been at the forefront of deterring departing candidates from taking the route and their families supporting them.
Read more: RFI