According to a survey led by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an overwhelming majority of young people risk travelling via the Eastern Mediterranean route in search of better opportunities in Europe.
The survey revealed that most of the children and young men seeking these opportunities, belonged to Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan and Syria.
The total number of children and young men surveyed was 4,811 and belonged to ages between 14 and 25.
Out of the total people who were surveyed:
- 44 percent belonged to Afghanistan
- 17 percent belonged to Pakistan
- 15 percent belonged to Syria
- 6 percent belonged to Iraq
Other places that belonged to this list were Middle East and Bangladesh, the latter with a small contribution to this population.
Pakistanis Travelling to Europe
Pakistan marks 17 percent of the young children and adults seeking these dangerous routes to reach Europe.
Out of these:
- 1% are females
- 99% are males
- 9% have no education
- 26% have primary education
- 59% have secondary education
- those with higher educational qualifications are only 5%.
The Central Mediterranean Route
Compared the Eastern Mediterranean Route, those travelling from the Central Mediterranean Route to reach Europe are evenly distributed across 4 countries.
According to reports, the distribution of those using the Central Mediterranean Route to reach Europe is as follows:
- 15 percent belong to Nigeria
- 11 percent belong to Gambia
- 10 percent belong to Guinea
- 7 percent belong to Bangladesh
- and other belong to Sub-Saharan nations
Travel Time and Costs
The amount of time taken to reach Europe from Pakistan varies between nearly 3 months and can go up to more than six months.
- 46% of Pakistanis reached in less than three months
- 27% took three to six months
- nearly 27% took more than six months
These immigrants pay a high price for leaving their country to seek refuge in a place with greater opportunities and better conditions.
- 47% spent less than $1000 on their journey
- 44% spent between $1000 and $2500
- 38% spent between $2,500 and $5,000
- 17% spent more than $5000
Comes at A High Price
A report titled ‘Harrowing Journeys: Children and Youth on the move’ contains findings of UNICEF and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The study shows that during the journey, about three quarters of children face abuse and exploitation.
89% of Pakistanis reported being physically and financially abused on the journey.
Out of The Frying Pan Into The Fire
Of the many reasons that force these people to leave their home countries, war and violence are the major causes, showed the study.
A majority of people who begin this journey, intend to set their final destination as Germany.
Afghan adolescents reported being mistreated not only in Iran and Pakistan but also by Turkey and Bulgaria.
The violence faced by them includes shooting by civilians, and abuse by the police as documented by many Afghans on the move.
According to research, such events in the life of these people result in long term mental health problems.