You would not know it from the headlines, but more irregular migrants and refugees are arriving to Europe via a route that takes them from Morocco to Spain than, are arriving to Italy via Libya or to Greece via Turkey. In fact, even as the numbers of migrants arriving to Europe declined overall in 2018, the migrant route from Morocco to Spain experienced a sharp increase.
More irregular migrants and refugees are now arriving in Europe via the straight of Gibraltar than anywhere else — and this is presenting a new set of challenges for European governments and the migrants themselves. Most of these migrants are refugees are from sub-Saharan Africa, and are braving this perilous journey in order to improve their lives.
On the line with me to explain why the Morocco-to-Spain route has become so popular, and what this change in migration routes says about Europe’s shifting attitudes towards migrants and refugees is Joe Wallen.
Joe Wallen is a freelance foreign correspondent for The Telegraph, The Guardian and al Jazeera. He’s reported extensively from sub-saharan migrant communities in Morocco who seek to make the journey across the straight of Gibraltar. In the process, he has reported on human rights abuses that are being visited upon this community by both traffickers and Moroccan security forces backed by the European Union.
We kick off with a discussion of the evolving migrant routes from Africa and the Middle East before having a longer discussion about the current situation in Morocco.