Do young West Africans want to go abroad at any cost because they receive too little or erroneous information? Why do they and their families risk large sums of money with migration brokers? How do the risks of illegality and deportation change migration aspirations in West Africa?

This book places trafficking and smuggling within a wider framework of high-risk migration and proposes a novel interpretation of how people manage unwanted and uncertain migration outcomes. Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research with aspiring and failed migrants, their families, migration brokers and consulate offices in anglophone Cameroon, the author analyses high-risk migration from the vantage point of people in a place of departure.

Brokering High-Risk Migration and Illegality in West Africa: Abroad at Any Cost develops a critical socio-legal approach to the governance of migration that sees the state without ‘seeing like the state’. The state’s monopoly over legitimate means of mobility is continuously in the making – frequently through accusations of fraud and criminality. By revealing how authority, legality and legitimacy operate in a country of origin, the analysis contributes original insights into processes that create the conditions for illegality and migrant exploitation. The book will appeal to those in the fields of migration and development, African studies, gender, anthropology, sociology, criminology and law.

chapter 2|36 pages

Why migration brokers can survive failures

chapter 3|31 pages

What it takes to get a visa

chapter 4|31 pages

How to secure marriage at the consulate

chapter 5|32 pages

Why deportations do not work