Migration, escape and human trafficking

The first objects you will meet in Crossroads are the boat, called Pantera, and the stairs made of rickety wooden slats tied together with clothing rags. Together, they tell stories of migration, escape and human trafficking.

The boat is a type of simple fishing boats, often used by refugees and migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. According eyewitnesses, this particular boat brought 25 people to the Almeria coast in southern Spain in 2004. Generally the police burn abandoned boats, but this boat was evidence in a human trafficking case.

The Strait of Gibraltar is crisscrossed by trade, movement, migration and smuggling. Illegal migration to Europe is closely linked to the economic interests of human traffickers. There has long been organized trade in humans, drugs and weapons. Many migrants still attempt to cross the Strait, but much of the migrant traffic has sought out other routes.

These stairs are made of rickety wooden slats tied together with clothing rags. They are used to attempt to climb over the dubble barbed wire fence around Melilla. This city is on the North African coast, but is an Spanish enclave. In some places, the fence is six meters tall.

In 2015, 60 million people were seeking refuge in the world. In all likelihood, the numbers of people fleeing climate-related problems will increase.

For decades, refugee flows from the Middle East and North Africa have followed three primary routes, via Spain, Italy and Greece. Attempts to reach Europe from Melilla and Ceuta have declined, in part due to electronic security systems, higher fences and increased militarization.