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Channel 4 launches 'Go Back to Where You Came From' series, retracing migrant journeys from Somalia and Syria

Wednesday July 10, 2024

LONDON, United Kingdom (HOL) — Channel 4 is launching a new social experiment series, "Go Back To Where You Came From," where Britons will retrace dangerous refugee and migrant routes to the UK. Inspired by an award-winning Australian format, the four-part series aims to offer an unfiltered look at immigration realities.

Participants, with varying views on immigration, will start in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Raqqa, Syria, facing threats such as missile strikes, overcrowded refugee camps, and treacherous boat crossings. The show intends to challenge their views and educate the public about the perils asylum seekers face.

The series will highlight the extreme dangers faced along the way, including threats of nearby missile strikes, the severe overcrowding of refugee camps, and the harrowing experience of small boat crossings. As they trek through deserts and cross mountain ranges, participants will be exposed to the severe hardships and life-threatening risks that many endure in search of safety and a better life.

The migration crisis in Somalia is a significant driver behind these dangerous journeys. Over 2.6 million Somalis are internally displaced, while nearly a million are refugees in neighbouring countries. The primary causes include ongoing conflict, political instability, and environmental challenges such as droughts and floods, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation.

In regions throughout Somalia, a phenomenon known as "tahriib" has emerged, where many young Somalis attempt to migrate irregularly to Europe. This movement is driven by high youth unemployment, lack of opportunities, and social pressures. The journey, however, is fraught with risks, including exploitation, abuse, and even death, as migrants navigate treacherous routes through multiple countries.

Many Somali migrants also find themselves stranded in countries like Libya, where they face severe conditions, including detention and abuse. Organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) work tirelessly to rescue and repatriate these individuals, but challenges such as human trafficking networks complicate these efforts.

Asad, a Somali migrant, illustrates his journey from Somalia to Europe, highlighting the dangers of these migrations. Asad traveled from Somalia to France and Spain, passing through nine countries and covering more than 7,000 kilometers. CREDIT/ MSF

"This series is designed to confront, educate, anger, shock, and tug at the heartstrings of viewers across the political spectrum," said Channel 4's Senior Commissioning Editors Anna Miralis and Madonna Benjamin in a joint statement. "Our goal is to provide the British public with a deeper understanding of the terrifying perils asylum seekers face."

Executive producer Liam Humphreys expressed excitement about the project, stating, "We are thrilled to be working on this audacious and groundbreaking series. 'Go Back To Where You Came From' will offer a unique and compelling perspective on the plight of asylum seekers, challenging preconceptions and igniting national debate."

The series' announcement comes when immigration remains a contentious issue in the UK. Recently, former Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer confirmed the cancellation of the Rwanda deportation scheme, which was intended to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel.


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