KABUL (SW) - Unemployment and insecurity in recent years have forced many citizens to emigrate irregularly in search of a safer life and livelihoods.
Esfandiar is one of hundreds of young people who have given in to irregular migration seeking a comfortable life and in order to earn a living for their families accompanying them on this perilous journey starting from thorny trip to Iran and difficult labor there. He, who struggled with extreme hunger and thieves during this trip, says that with such trips that threatened his life, now strongly opposes this way as an escape from the hardships of life.
Esfandiar urges on young people - who knowingly or unknowingly are still thinking about it as an option – to never risk their lives for this worthless journey into the unknown.
"Women are not respected," he said of the smugglers' treatment of immigrants. “They cursed me and I hated my life at that moment. They were abusive. I was sitting in front of my mother because when there is a family member close to the family, they remain away, but some of the travelers were young and alone so they were exposed to abuses”, he recalled.
Esfandiar said that during the journey, he faced many difficulties with his family members to first reach Iran and later work there to provide a better education and livelihood for his family, but his eventual dream never came true.
According to him, beatings, harassment and non-payment of salaries are among the most common actions of employers in Iran, who handover the citizens of Afghanistan to the police on a single complaint.
Although, it has been ten years since Esfandiar and his family emigrated to Iran, he returned to Afghanistan years ago, but still regrets his initial decision of irregular migration.
He now lives with his mother and sister in a village far from the city in Jawzjan, and vowed never to think about irregular migration.
Abdul Malik Rostami, head of the Jawzjan immigrants and returnees department, told Salam Watandar that the government with support of international community is trying to support migrants - who have just returned from Iran and Pakistan.
According to him, however, due to more attention to the internally displaced people, little attention has been paid to immigrants returning to the country from abroad. Rostami added that so far they have distributed cash to 567 families who have returned to the country from Iran and Pakistan.
Sayed Shir Hossein Honaryar, coordinator of the Center for Immigration Information, told Salam Watandar that the agency is launching online awareness programs for the country's citizens about the dire consequences of irregular immigration. He added that the organization was doing everything possible to "raise awareness" among Afghan citizens so that they would not be subjected to irregular migration.
Every year, thousands of people from Afghanistan travel to Iran and onwards to European countries seeking a comfortable and safe life, but many of them fall into the hands of thieves and human traffickers.
Say no to irregular migration!