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“I  wanted to be in a safe place, I did not run from poverty to be caught in war…” – A female migrant from the Congo

The Decision to Leave

“I am 40 years old. I am from Congo-Brazzaville and I left my country because of poverty. I couldn’t handle my situation anymore, I didn’t have money to raise my 12 year-old daughter. My brother who lives in Libya suggested that I come and find a good job there. I decided to go.”

Beginning the Journey

“First I went to Mali, it’s much closer and I had a friend there, hoping to find a good job. In Kidal the situation was even worse than what I had imagined. I couldn’t stay in Mali more than two months, I was afraid, and felt so unsafe. I talked to my brother, and again he told me to come to Libya. I went there, but it was even worse. I wanted to be in a safe place, I did not run from poverty to be caught in war, so I decided to come to Tunisia.”

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Pushing Onward

“I met with smugglers and we organized the journey. We were told that near the borders, there was a camp, the Choucha camp, where other brothers and sisters could help us once in Tunisia. I took a taxi from Sabratha, we were five in the taxi. We reached the Tunisian borders at night. The smugglers left us there and showed us the way to reach Choucha. We started walking, we were very scared. Other groups of migrants were like us, crossing to Tunisia. The group became bigger, we were 32 migrants (18 women and 14 men) walking together. We walked for more than six hours, we were exhausted, no food, no water, no sleep. Men, women and children, we were all exhausted, it had been more than twelve hours since we had left Libya. It was extremely hot in August.”

Detention and Decisions

“Finally we reached the Choucha camp, our brothers – they were only men – welcomed us, cooked for us, gave us food and water. We could finally get some rest. We spent two days in the camp, and on the third day, at 11 a.m., the National Guard came in, they started shouting at us, “you are not allowed here, there is no camp here, women are not allowed here, you are prostitutes!” and they took us all, men and women. We were put in a detention center for four days, and then with the help of the TRC (Tunisian Red Crescent) we were released. Seven of us decided to stay here, the others decided to go their way, try to find jobs to survive.”

September 2016 – Documented by MHub Data Focal Point in Medenine, Tunisia

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