More than 1,300 Tunisians arrested over illegal migration between January and September 2017 (Report)
09/10/2017 14:51, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) – Some 1.652 persons including 1,384 Tunisians were arrested over illegal migration between January and September 2017, revealed the 2017 3rd quarter report carried out by the Maghreb Migration Observatory stemming from the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES).

164 illegal immigration operations were intercepted from January to September 2017, representing almost half of the number of operations thwarted in 2011 that stood at 283, according to the same report presented Monday at a press conference in Tunis.

According to the figures of the Interior Ministry cited in the report in the 1st half year of 2017, 54 illegal migration attempts were thwarted in the Tunisian territory.

612 individuals were arrested, 197 of whom are foreign nationals (32.2%) most of them were from Nigeria (36.45%), Cote d’Ivoire (25.38%) and Gambia (9.64%).

The report also points out that 11 Tunisian traffickers were arrested in the H1 of 2017.

Referring to the data of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the report indicates that 2,700 Tunisians arrived illegally to Italy from January to September 2017, including 1,400 who arrived in September, against 1,200 in 2016 and 880 in 2015.

For its part, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as quoted in the report says that 1,357 Tunisians arrived illegally to Italy from January 1 to August 31, including 1,020 who had arrived in January and June of the same year.

5% of the people apprehended in 2016 over illegal migration were women. 67% of the individuals who left the Tunisian territory illegally were aged between 20 and 30. Most of them were unemployed non-graduate youths or worked in precarious jobs.

The governorates from which illegal migration attempts were foiled from July to September 2017 are Sfax (41.42%), Bizerte and Medenine (12.85%).

According to the report, means of sea transport seized during the first half of 2017 amounted to 21 including 51.1% fast boats, whereas in the previous year, fishing boats were the most commonly used as they are cheaper and can transport a large number of people.

Taking the floor, FTDES President Massoud Romdhani pointed out that hopelessness and lack of promising prospects and horizons are the main reason why youths venture and immigrate towards the unknown with the hope of changing their living conditions.

Romdhani cited other reasons such as economic and social reasons, the poor performance of the successive governments, smuggling reasons as well as the impact of social networks on indecisive youths.

He stressed the importance to mobilise sociologists and psychologists to look at means to bring them out of despair, calling politicians to create mechanisms to attract youths and help them restore their confidence in a better future in their country.

In this regard, he pointed out that school drop-out and lack of prospects are pushing youths not only to immigrate but also to commit suicide and join terrorist groups.

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