Tunisia: Trends in Illicit Migration Point to Economic Fallout

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Economic, Security, Tunisia


Multiple incidents of failed or disrupted sea crossings in the first week of October 2022 have highlighted the ongoing illicit migration crisis, in which Tunisia serves as a major launch point for both Tunisians and Africans from across the continent to attempt to enter Europe. High demand for illicit passage continues to drive a market for both illegally constructed watercraft and subsequent crossing attempts. While difficult to track, some sources are reporting as much as double the number of crossing attempts as compared to previous years. Many migrants that are disrupted and returned cite the desperate economic conditions in Tunisia as the driver for their attempt at passage.



The black market for illicit crossings of the Mediterranean Sea shows no sign of slowing. One disturbing trend noted by commentators is the increasing number of crossing attempts by entire families. During previous years, attempted crossings by families was rare, however, recent deaths of mothers accompanied by their children is a sober indicator of the level of economic and social desperation experienced by many Tunisian families and other African families residing in Tunisia.