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African migrants' desperate journey
(Sunday, 27 August 2006) Written by hopper

Nigerian migrant worker Akum knew that she had to break the law to get to Europe. She works in the popular tourist resort of Tenerife in the Canary Islands - now becoming one of the chosen destinations for people desperate to escape Africa.

 Source: BBC News  bbc.co.uk/news

 

 

 

"The problem is life in Africa is terrible, there is serious poverty there and for many of us there is no option but to get out, get out via illegal means," she explains.

Akum is just one of the thousands of Africans who have risked their lives crossing the sea to seek new opportunities in the European Union.

"If you go to the British Embassy or French or Spanish it is next to impossible to get a visa to visit. I have no intention of going back to Africa," says Akum, who like many refugees did not give her full name for fear of persecution by the Spanish authorities.

Tenerife - famous for its fun, sun and sand - is now on the frontline of international efforts to keep illegal African migrants out of Europe.

Since the beginning of 2006, up to 10,000 Africans have boarded handmade boats in the hope of getting into Europe, ready to risk death.

That is already twice the number recorded in 2005.

Officials say more than 1,700 have died along the way and coastguards working off the Canary Islands have rescued hundreds of men, women and children.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5151740.stm

 Source: BBC News  bbc.co.uk/news
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