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The perception of risk among unauthorized migrants in Ghana


  • Sjoerd van Bemmel


In recent years, the number of unauthorized migrants trying to reach Europe by boat has increased. In an attempt to curtail this trend, European countries have increasingly deployed information campaigns regarding the risks involved in unauthorized migration. The assumption behind these campaigns is that a strong relation exists between the prevalence of high-risk migration and a lack of awareness of the involved dangers, and that the dissemination of ‘objective’ information would cause prospective migrants to refrain from leaving. Although regarded as a crucial tool in the management of migration, there is little evidence on their effectiveness. Based on four weeks of fieldwork in Ghana, this qualitative study has sought to fill this lacuna. By concentrating on both the circulation and perception of the available risk information in Ghana, this article explores the ways in which notions of risk affect the motivation and decision of unauthorized migrants to engage in high-risk behaviour. Thereby, it will be argued that unauthorized migrants are not the ignorant actors they are often portrayed to be, but that they make their decisions carefully and within a particular vulnerable, socioeconomic and cultural context.

Suggested Citation

  • Sjoerd van Bemmel, 2020. "The perception of risk among unauthorized migrants in Ghana," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 47-61, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jriskr:v:23:y:2020:i:1:p:47-61
    DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2018.1517376

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole Stremlau & Anna Tsalapatanis, 2022. "Social Media, Mobile Phones and Migration in Africa: A Review of the Evidence," Progress in Development Studies, , vol. 22(1), pages 56-71, January.

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