Stowaway sufferers

August 17, 2014 - 1:36:02 am

The discovery of stowaways in a shipping container in the UK underlines the increasing complexity of the international migration problem.

Thirty-four screaming survivors found in a shipping container at the UK port of Tilbury near London will definitely have a long story to tell. Amid the tale of international migration — legal and illegal —getting warped, the issue is drawing worldwide concern. Stowaways have been the bitter reality of illegal migration and transportation agencies have been left with a bad taste in the mouth by migrants who resort to desperate measures. 

The propensity to migrate is high in large chunks of populations, especially those belonging to developing and least developed societies. People, in need of better opportunities, move to distant lands in order to improve their standard of living. Migration has been the mainstay of the economies of several countries, including the oil-rich Gulf nations. Western countries like Canada, Germany and United Kingdom have relied largely on immigrants to fuel robust economies. 

The process of moving from one part of the world to another is subject to controls, which keeps the chaos away. In troubled times, like the present, migration lends itself to extraneous forces like wars and conflicts, economic debacles, and trafficking for exploitation. This is what has been happening in most parts of the world that have been receiving illegal migrants in hordes. The southern shores of Europe, for example, keep getting migrants from Africa and have lately been hit by an influx from war-torn Syria. Greece, itself a debt-ridden economy, and Italy — hit by economic troubles, have been the biggest sufferers. Large groups of poor Africans are lured by traffickers to the lure of Europe and end up in Greece, Italy or Spain in ramshackle boats. Many survive the tortuous journey along with infants, but those who die are often thrown overboard. Hundreds of boats in the Mediterranean are apprehended by the coast guard. 

Resentment among locals against migrants has intensified with the economic crisis. The Italian island of Lampedusa has seen protests against migrants flooding their shores. 

Increasing desperation to escape from poverty often results in people undertaking intercontinental travel in the wheel wells of aircraft. Thousands of children from trouble-torn Central American countries had to cross the border into the US illegally, leading to the issue snowballing in the face of President Barack Obama’s administration. These kids, who have become the subject of a raging debate in the US, have been forced across the border by parents out to save them from imminent death because of high crime rates. 

Global organisations and multilateral agencies like the United Nations have to go the extra mile in dealing with the migration problem. They are dealing with multiple issues like civil wars and cross-border crime. If problems related to migration are not given priority, they are likely to lead to soaring crime rates and social complications•