MMC North Africa 4Mi Snapshot: Access to information of refugees and migrants in Libya - The Libyan Report

MMC North Africa 4Mi Snapshot: Access to information of refugees and migrants in Libya

This 4Mi snapshot follows a similar one recently published by MMC West Africa. It is based on data collected by 4Mi monitors in Libya between May 2017 and January 2019. During this period, a total of 4,584 refugees and migrants were interviewed. The aim of this snapshot is to provide an overview of the different ways in which refugees and migrants in Libya have accessed information about migration and how this may have affected their decision making.

  1. Profiles

Of 4,584 refugees and migrants interviewed in Libya, 43% were women and 57% were men. Most interviewees were from West Africa (71%) while 19% were from East Africa and 10% from Central African countries1. The five most prominent nationalities interviewed were Nigeria (41%); Sudan (11%); Ghana (10%); Burkina Faso (6%) and Eritrea (5%).

  1. Main source of information on migration prior to departure and during migration

Prior to departure, 4Mi respondents reported mostly consulting a variety of sources that could be jointly defined as “the migrants’ network” whereas during the journey smugglers seem to play a more dominant role in providing access to information.

As shown in graph 1, before departure about half of respondents (47%) consulted with family and friends in the country of destination and an additional 14% reported calling those that had left before them. The second main source of information before departure was smugglers themselves (50%). Against a popular narrative in the media2, relatively low numbers of migrants and refugees reported consulting social media (7%) and specialized websites (3%). Nonetheless, social media may overlap with other sources as they are used to keep ties with friends and family.

During the migration journey, reliance on smugglers increases and it is reported as a source of information by most respondents (65%). Also, 60% of the respondents still relied on the “migrants’ network” but the number of interviewees mentioning family and friends at destination to access relevant information reduces consistently (from 47% to 27%). Reliance on friends and family at origin also falls (from 18% to 6%) while a relevant share (42%) of interviewees reported consulting with fellow migrants on the journey with them.

As shown in graph 2, information sources differ by region of origin with respondents from West Africa relying more heavily on smugglers prior to departure (61%). To the contrary, migrants and refugees from East and Central Africa seem to have stronger network ties reporting friends and family at destination as the main source of information (75% and 69%, respectively). Similarly, during the journey Western Africans relied heavily on information provided by the smugglers (79%) but this was not the case for Eastern Africans (23%) that more frequently consulted fellow travellers (72%) and others ahead of them in the journey (45%). source