Magazine

May 30, 2015

Smuggled Through Niger

Smuggled Through Niger

African migrants in overcrowded pickup trucks, encouraged by social media messages from friends who survived the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, set off from Agadez, an ancient trading town on the edge of the Sahara, to cross Niger in the uncertain journey towards Europe via Libya, where the collapse of the government has offered an open door for smugglers. Mostly young men, escaping grinding poverty in neighbouring Benin or Burkina Faso, face bandits and often have to pay bribes en route, on top of the hefty payments to people smugglers. International focus on the issue of migration into Europe has sharpened after hundreds of migrants drowned while trying to cross the sea from North Africa in overcrowded and unsafe vessels.

Smuggled Through Niger
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Light from vehicle illuminates the legs of migrants siting at the back of a truck as it is driven through a dusty road at night from the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant Nassirou, 19, from Nigeria wears a turban to protect himself from dust and heat as he sits in the back of a truck with other immigrants, at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrants sit in the back of a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrants sit on their belongings in the back of a truck as it is driven through a dusty road in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrants who are preparing to board a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015 stand by containers which are wrapped with wet sacks and filled with water. The containers are wrapped in wet sacks to keep the water cool. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrants hold containers of water wrapped with wet sacks as they sit in the back of a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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A migrant changes his shoes as he prepares to get into the back of truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrants queue to get onto the back of a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrants watch as a man arranges their belongings in the back of a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Containers wrapped with wet sacks filled with water to be used by migrants who are preparing to board a truck prior to their journey at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrant Idriss Alassaane, 15, who was a mechanic's apprentice from Benin poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Ismael Fousseni, 16, who is from Benin, sits for a portrait at a local immigrant transit centre in Agadez, Niger May 23, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrants arrange their bags as they prepare to get into a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger 25, May 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant Naossirou, 18, poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant Mounssirou Alassaane, 17, who was a tailor from Benin poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant Nassirou, 19, from Nigeria poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

Smuggled Through Niger
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Migrant Baroo, 19, poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant Bouso Mammadou, 24, from Nigeria poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Mayor of Agadez, Rhissa Feltou, poses for a picture in his office in Agadez, Niger May 23, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant Seidou, 19, from Nigeria poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrant, Sanoussi, 28, poses for a portrait at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A man repairs household electrical appliances in his shop in the main market in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A cleric teaches at an Islamic school near the main market of the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrants from Benin sleep on mats as they wait for transport at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 23, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A picture of the Agadez landmark minaret is painted on the door of a building in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A man sits on his motorbike at the main market in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A girl walks past sticks that will be used for building in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Slippers are seen at the entrance of an Islamic school near the main market of the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A minaret is seen at a sunset in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A man walks past a pizzeria shop in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 23, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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People walk past a hotel near the main market in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Illegal immigrants wait to board a bus at dawn from Niamey to a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 22, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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Migrants from Burkina Faso disembark from a vehicle after arriving at a motor park in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 22, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A sunset is seen over the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 24, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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A migrant holds a container of water wrapped with a wet sack as he sits at the back of a truck at a local immigration transit centre in the desert town of Agadez, Niger May 25, 2015. AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/REUTERS

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