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Rousing Senegal from ‘European dream’

Marketplace Staff Sep 21, 2007


Doug Krizner: The Canary Islands lie 70 miles off the northwestern coast of Africa. This Spanish archipelago has become a gateway to Europe for illegal African immigrants. Last year, more than 30,000 of them risked their lives in wooden canoes to make the trip.

Now, the Spanish government is hoping a million-dollar ad campaign will persuade the migrants from taking this dangerous voyage. Jerome Socolovsky reports from Madrid.

Jerome Socolovsky: Most of the migrants come from Senegal, so the ads are in Wolof, their ethnic language.

In this one, a mother says she hasn’t heard from her son in eight months. The scene cuts to the dead body of a young African man washed up on a rocky shore.

Senegalese musician Youssoun D’our tells viewers, “Don’t risk your life for nothing.”

The ads will run on Senegalese radio, TV and in newspapers for about six weeks. The Spanish government hopes the scare tactics will discourage young Africans from pursuing the “European dream” — a job in Madrid, Barcelona or Paris that pays much more than they would earn back home.

Relief groups estimate that several thousand Africans have died in recent years trying to reach the Canary Islands.

In Madrid, I’m Jerome Socolovsky for Marketplace.

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