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Harmful Borders: An analysis of the daily struggle of migrants as they attempt to leave Ventimiglia for northern Europe

Since 2015, the Italian town of Ventimiglia, on the border with France, has been one of the major transit points for migrants attempting to leave Italy and reach a final destination in northern Europe.

Migrants in transit often experience harsh and extreme living conditions, find themselves exposed to physical abuse and vulnerabilities, and are routinely victims of deprivation and pushbacks at the Italian border.

Shortcomings in protection and the health hazards experienced by these groups may result in acute and longer-term illness, further aggravated by their poor access to health services. To respond to the considerable needs of this group of people, MSF teams worked in border areas of Italy, including Ventimiglia, Como and Gorizia.

Here we present the results of a quantitative analysis among migrants in transit carried out by MSF at two sites in Ventimiglia, documenting the types of violence experienced both during the journey and during pushbacks from the Italian border, and assessing people’s access to health services.

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