As part of the European Union’s comprehensive approach to the migration challenge and in particular as part of the preventive measures to curb irregular migration and tackle migrant smuggling as stated in the EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (COM(2015) 285 final), the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home) commissioned two studies to strengthen the evidence base of future communication activities aimed at prospective migrants. These studies focused on the communication channels used by migrants and asylum seekers to obtain information in countries of origin and transit, with particular focus on online and social media. The geographical focus of these two studies were on West Africa and the Central Mediterranean route, as well as Italy as a first country of arrival in Europe. Fieldwork took place in 2016 and 2017 in order to gather data from primary sources, including surveys, interviews and focus groups with prospective migrants in their countries of origin, as well as with migrants who had already embarked along the migratory route towards Europe.
The study findings will support the development of communication campaigns and activities aimed at informing migratory choices in countries of origin and transit. The overall objective of the EU and Member State funded migration information and awareness raising campaigns is to sensitise the target audience and provide prospective migrants, their communities and diaspora members with objective information on the risks of irregular migration as well as EU asylum, migration and return policies.