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Mar 16, 2010, 9:40 AM

The definition of the word can be "the movement of people from one place to another." There are two main types of migration: first, internal migration, i.e. migration within one country, and secondly international migration, which means the movement from one country to another.

The next question is: What makes people migrate from one place to another?

The reasons for migration can be divided into two main aspects, the so-called "push" and "pull" factors.

Push factors are those in their old place which force people to move. For example, there may be civil wars or wars in general, but political or religious oppression, climate changes, lack of jobs or simply poverty are all important push factors.

Pull factors are factors in the target country which encourage people to move; these include peace and safety, a chance of a better job, better education, social security, a better standard of living in general as well as political and religious freedom.

The issue of migration came to the fore, once again, with the recent inauguration of the immigration post at the coastal village of Tanji, with funding from the government of Spain.

Such assistance is meant to equip governments of littoral states to monitor and prevent illegal migration which has disastrous consequences through loss of human life, especially through the sea voyage, and a drain on precious human resources as young persons leave Africa in search of so-called "greener pastures."

It is known that the Spanish authorities are not only providing the police and immigration services with the wherewithal to deal with the problem, but have provided aid to facilitate skills training for youths, to provide grants for investment in agricultural ventures, and a whole lot of other aid.

The government in Madrid is cooperating with African countries concerned based on the understanding that illegal migration is what it isĀ - illegal.

Moreover, there is the element of human trafficking, which is expressly forbidden by both states, including under the laws of the Gambia.

It is evident that the Gambian authorities are equally convinced that it is wrong for youths from this country to attempt "to enter Europe through the back way," especially when they risk their lives to do so.

Consequently, illegal migration, which is usually organised by criminal gangs engaged in human trafficking must be prevented. This was why the Gambia government recently enacted a law to that effect.

Moreover, that migration has become an important issue these days ensured that it was the topic of the 2009 Human Development Report (HDR09).

"Migration, both within and beyond borders, has become an increasingly prominent theme in domestic and international debates," according to the annual report issued by the UNDP.

"As always on this boulevard, the faces were young, coming annually in an endless migration from every country, every continent, to alight here once in the long journey of their lives."

Brian Moore