Cover of 'The Human Flow' with a picture of Jonathan Power on it. - Photo: 2024

A Novel Uncovers the Brutal Realities of West African Migrant Trafficking

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | 19 May 2024 (IDN) — ‘The Human Flow’, a novel by Jonathan Power—a renowned journalist, filmmaker, and broadcaster—offers a gripping and thought-provoking read. Published by ‘ibidem Press’ in February 2024, it is a captivating book about two journalists—a Tanzanian, Agnes and Jon, an Englishman.

They embark on a dangerous journey to report on the trafficking of West African migrants. As they travel from Senegal and Mali through Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, France and eventually to England, Agnes and Jon encounter heart-wrenching tales of hardship and loss.

But their own lives are also at risk: Agnes is kidnapped by traffickers and Jon sets out to rescue her. Along the way, they meet Ana, a journalist from Spain. A daring romance develops involving the three of them. Their journey takes them to the slums of Paris and London, where they inspire the BBC to film their story.

But their quest for truth comes at a high price, as they are captured by a guerrilla movement in Morocco and ultimately meet a disastrous end in Libya—which underlines the brutal reality.

This fast-paced and gripping story sheds light on the harsh realities of trafficking and the bravery of journalists who risk everything to uncover the truth. Packed with hazards, excitement, and humanity, Jonathan Power’s novel reveals the cruel reality on the ground.

The United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) reported on 22 March 2024 that the bodies of at least 65 people had been discovered in a mass grave in southwest Libya.

IOM noted that the circumstances of the people’s deaths and nationalities were unknown “but it is believed that they died in the process of being smuggled through the desert”.

The agency stressed that while Libyan authorities had launched an investigation into the deaths, it is important for them to “ensure a dignified recovery, identification and transfer of the remains of the deceased migrants”, and notify and assist their families.

About the novelist

Jonathan Power is best known for his weekly column and commentary on foreign affairs that appeared in the International Herald Tribune (now The New York Times) for 17 years. He is also the author of eight books on foreign affairs, including “Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International”, published by Penguin.

Before earning his Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, Power worked in Tanzania, advising peasant farmers while living in a local village. He later joined the staff of Martin Luther King, living in the West Side ghetto, working with Jesse Jackson in the “End the Slums” campaign in Chicago. He was the first journalist to report at length in English on the trafficking of African migrants across the Sahara and into France. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Image: Cover of ‘The Human Flow’ with a picture of Jonathan Power on it.

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