Together with the University of Sussex and the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium, we have created a 4-page comic about irregular migration from Ethiopia to South Africa. The Ethiopian government has outlawed many kinds of migrant smugglers and brokers and their businesses have gone underground. There is now a large migration industry of smugglers, informal brokers and other actors who help migrants navigate border controls.
The research on which this comic is based sought to understand the social relations that underpin brokerage and the implications of clandestine migration for the welfare of the migrants themselves as well as their families. The relationships between migrants and those who mediate migration are complex with the power shifting between the migrant and broker at different points of the journey. The research shows how the system operates and why it continues despite the controls.
The comic, drawn by Kenyan artist Maddo, will be published on Cartoon Movement on October 9. Two other comics exploring irregular migration are currently being produced and will be published later this year.