The Migrants Files – Disclosing Deaths at Dreamland’s door

A group of migrants from Syria trying to avoid Greek patrols at the border with Macedonia A group of migrants from Syria trying to avoid Greek patrols at the border with Macedonia © Yannis Behrakis. Reuters

The Migrants Files is a project that began in 2013 to exemplify concerted efforts by journalists to accurately assess the number of migrants who lost their lives in the quest for a better life in a European country.

Utilizing “open-source intelligence” (OSINT), a method originated by the intelligence services, where data is acquired from publicly available resources such as news media, public data or grey literature, the journalists collected, screened, cross-checked, analyzed and registered the material in one database.

As it turned out, since the beginning of the century, more than 30,000 people have died or disappeared attempting to enter Europe. The number of fatalities suffered by migrants on their journey to Europe turns out to be much higher than previously believed. Reports show that since 2000, an estimated 1.2 million undocumented refugees and migrants have travelled to Europe via sea and land. A majority of migrants use air travel as their main way of entry into Europe. Moreover, the project found that refugees have paid 16 billion euros to travel to Europe.

The project also attempts to address Europe’s closed-door immigration policy, which costs taxpayers billions of euros a year, while benefiting a select few. Around 60 million people are currently displaced worldwide, according to UNHCR, and resources are set in place to implement immigration policy and maintain security control. A few arms and technology companies have financially benefited from the protection of Europe’s borders. While some companies reap profits from migration, Europe spends most of its money on fighting against illegal immigration. Twenty-eight  EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland have spent more than 11.3 billion euros on deporting millions of people since 2000.

The EU is now between a hard rock and a hard place: it has vowed to save the refugees, but slammed the door if stability and solidarity are to be guaranteed.

For more information about the project, visit:

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