28 July 2022
The contents of this report are the sole responsibility of the GI-TOC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union. [...] The second report of the project, ‘Conflict, coping and COVID,’ published in early 2021, detailed the evolution of human smuggling and trafficking in the face of Libyan conflict and the region wide COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring both the disruption of the system and its broader continuity. [...] However, the Atlantic route to the Canary Islands was the most active in the country, with a reportedly marked increase in the number of women and children using this route to try to reach Spain in the last quarter of 2021. [...] The main routes across the border have remained broadly the same for the last decade, with the Algerian town of Maghnia (to the east of the city of Tlemcen) and the Moroccan cities of Oujda and Ahfir serving as key transit areas.9 Migrants cross between both Oudja and Ahfir along multiple points to access Maghnia (if crossing from Morocco, and vice versa). [...] 11 ww Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images 12 THE COMPLICATED GEOPOLITICS OF IRREGULAR MIGRATION The underlying structural drivers of irregular migration from Morocco to Spain – economic hardship amid renewed border closures in the final quarter of 2021, the collapse of the tourism economy and a sharp rise in unemployment, especially in the informal sector – are unlikely to dissipate, which mean.