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People over there suggest migrants to try to go to Italy. Either you die or you make it, I was told.” – A male migrant from Pakistan


“I was happy in my country. I used to work for a National health campaign for the promotion of the vaccines to fight polio, in Madrar, a city close to the border with Afghanistan. I lived with my mother, and my brothers, and my uncles were living next to our house. Unfortunately, in our area there are many Taliban. One evening I got back home and my mother warned me about a letter that just arrived. It was addressed to me and it was a letter from the Taliban. They ordered me to quit the health campaign. They claimed that my job was against their religion.”


“I went straight to the police to report what happened. The police men reassured me that I would be safe. Soon, life proved the opposite. A few days later, I remember I was walking house to house for the vaccines campaign. My colleague was happier than usual, that morning his wife told him he would become a father soon. Suddenly, we heard some shots. They were Taliban and they killed my colleague. I managed to escape, but I recognized their faces. I knew some of them since my childhood. I reported this to the police, giving the name of the murderers. Of course, the Taliban went to look for me at home. I was not there when it happened. My brother was there and they beat him very bad. I escaped to Karachi, but they kept looking for me. Taliban went to my uncle and they kidnapped him for 5 days. He was so afraid that he confessed I was in Karachi.”


“This is how I flew to Misrata. It cost me 3000 USD*. Once in Libya, my passport was withdrawn by the police, I think they did it so that I could not go back. I stayed in Misrata for three months. It was a real nightmare. Libya is terrible. People over there suggest migrants to try to go to Italy. Either you die or you make it, I was told. I decided I would try it. I contacted a smuggler, he put me in a connection house where none of us could eat. After five days without eating, we finally arrived in Zawara and we went on the boat. I was below deck, no air, packed, the boat was not stable. We were on the water for 10 hours before being rescued. During those hours at sea, I remember I could not think of anything. I was just numb, without energy.”


“Memories of what happened in Pakistan, of what my family suffered because of me, of what I passed through in Libya, of the sea journey, are so vivid to me. They overwhelm me. I am getting crazy. At the moment, I can see only my past, but I cannot see any future.”

*Includes money paid for smuggling services

January 2016 – Documented by MHub Data Focal Point in Italy – Angela Tullio Cataldo