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Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey

In response to the surge in migrants crossing the Mediterranean—and the deaths and injuries that often result from failed journeys—European policymakers have struggled to find effective policy responses to stem the flow of boats. Deep, sophisticated insight into the decision-making process of those who undertake these journeys is necessary; without this information and a wider understanding of the political economy of migrant smuggling, policymakers essentially are making decisions in the dark.

The report, drawing from the authors' interviews with migrants, highlights gaps in evidence on migrants’ decision-making processes, perceptions of risk, and access to information. It also examines smuggling networks, which have been thus far overlooked in research efforts.