In the coastal town of Mbour in Senegal, a court sentenced three men to jail. The three were sent to jail for pushing their sons to migrate by sea to Europe. Three sons of the three fathers had agreed to travel to Europe in a trip arranged by their fathers, who had paid off smugglers to get them there. But one of the sons named Doudou Faye died on this trip before he got to his destination. Two of the other young men survived and returned to Senegal.
According to local reports, Doudou Faye`s father had paid the equivalent of about $450 to a smuggler to have him transported into Spain. But Mr. Mamadou Lamine Faye`s son died along the route. Doudou Faye expected to get to Italy and train as a soccer player, according to his father.
Three Fathers Sentenced in a Court in Senegal
Police in Senegal arrested Mr. Mamadou Faye in November after news of his son`s death at sea broke out. The authorities presented three fathers in court this week, where a judge listened to their testimonies. Faye`s father told the court that he never intended to endanger his son`s life when he paid for his travels. He said he wanted to find a better future for his son. After listening to their testimonies, the court found the three fathers guilty of endangering the lives of others. The judge hearing the case sentenced all three to two years in prison, each with 23 months suspended.
Between October and November, Senegal recorded hundreds of deaths of young illegal migrants. With the recent death of Doudou and the court case, many in Senegal have become aware of the renewed traffic of illegal migration from Senegal. Numerous Senegalese nationals hope that the judge`s ruling on the three parents this week will help deter many parents in Senegal from sending their children on dangerous trips to Europe. But travel on the perilous long Atlantic route has since become even more popular.
Increase of Illegal Migration into Europe
Currently, departures have increased on the beaches of Mbour, Dakar, and also Saint Louis, which is about 260 kilometers (161 miles) north of Senegal. High Commissions often deny visa applications for those traveling by sea for European countries. The young men cram into boats called pirogues for the 950 miles long trip to the Spanish Canary Island. They, however, don’t seem to care that the voyage to Europe is dangerous. Often engines break down, and the boats also take on water, or in the case of Doudou Faye, passengers become ill. All the young men seem to care about is that a better life awaits them when they get to Europe. In Europe, they expect to earn enough money to support their families back home.
According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, more than 20,000 people have arrived in the Spanish archipelago this year. The ministry adds that around 500 people have died while trying to reach the Spanish islands they see as stepping stones into Europe.
The International Organization for Migration`s Missing Migrant project told reporters that they have only confirmed the deaths or disappearances of 160 Senegalese nationals this year. But the organization admits that their records may be incomplete as they lack information collected on the migration route.