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Eating toothpaste, avoiding gangs: Why migrants head to Mediterranean

“… Eritreans and Syrians made up half of the migrant traffic to Europe last year, according to Arezo Malakooti, director of migration research at Altai Consulting and author of one of the most detailed studies of migration patterns. Malakooti has recently visited seven countries, including Libya, Tunisia and Morocco to update her study.

The “push factor” is much greater than the “pull” of Europe, she says. Upheavals and instability across much of Africa and the Middle East — combined with the perception that Libya’s doors are open — have led to a massive increase in the numbers trying to reach Libya. “Worsening repression in Eritrea” has been one factor, she says — while Eritreans already in refugee camps in Sudan have decided to make a dash for the Mediterranean.”

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