When the body of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy, was washed up on a beach in Turkey this week, it sent a clear and shocking message to the world that the migrant crisis is far from over and is in fact, a problem that needs to be addressed by all countries who believe in basic human rights. In light of this and other recent tragedies that have befallen refugees making the crossing by sea, to Europe, in flight of persecution, starvation and war in their countries, Special Assignment screens The Migrant Trap, which sheds light on the circumstances that African Migrants landing in Tripoli in Libya undergo. By the 19th of August, 2015, the figure of those crossing the Mediterranean to Europe had already exceeded last year’s figure by 65,000. Thousands had viewed Tripoli as a gateway to Europe but, the Libyan capital has fast turned into a dead end for them.
Since the fall of the Libyan government in October 2011, many Africans fleeing appalling living conditions viewed Libya, as a gateway to Europe and ultimately, to freedom. However, in Tripoli, they often fall victim to militias that have filled the gap left behind by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s regime and a weak transitional government that entrenches the instability of the country.
A few of these migrants have managed to survive in Libya either by living in the shadows or by eking out a living amid difficult circumstances. Most of them view Libya as an access point to Europe and their situation as transitory. They enlist the services of human smugglers who help them make the dangerous crossing through the Mediterranean by boat, in overcrowded and unsafe vessels, to Europe.
The migrants fall prey to over-zealous militia imposing martial law on the country and setting up blocks and check points to seize migrants and detain them for having incorrect or suspicious-looking paperwork. The migrants are forced to undergo health tests for which they must pay. Most remain incarcerated in appalling conditions before being sent back to their countries.
Watch ‘The Migrant Trap’ on Special Assignment, Directed and Produced by Veronique Mauduy
Sunday night on SABC 3 at 20h30
For more information contact:
The Special Assignment office
Tel: 011 714 6758/6451
Tel: 011 714 5419
Tel: 011 714 645