The headlines about Europe's migration crisis have now subsided, though they
continue to influence the political agenda all over the continent. Though there
are moments when the human reality cuts through, as with the shocking picture of
baby Alan Kurdi's body on the beach, for the most part the individual stories are lost
amid the hysteria over cutting migrant numbers and shutting the doors of Fortress
Europe. More than 25,000 migrants have died in their attempt to reach or stay in Europe
More than 5,000 migrants lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean and
Aegean seas in 2016 - they were drowned, suffocated or crushed during the
In 2017 over 3000 migrants lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
Award-winning journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai specializes in communicating poignant
human stories that many people find it convenient to keep out of sight and out of
mind. She travels to meet migrants and asylum-seekers who have just been washed
up on the shores of Lampedusa or Sicily and have been absorbed into dismal
While journalists ordinarily pitch up in such places and file their colour pieces before
moving on to the next hot topic, Hsiao-Hung follows through, staying in touch with
some of those she encounters - many of them children - throughout their journeys:
into mainland Italy, to Germany where they face harassment from far-right groups,
and to the appalling conditions in the camps on the coast of northwest France.
These personal stories of individuals break apart the false distinction between
"refugees" and "migrants", between "those seeking refuge" and "those wanting a
better life", a distinction that has resulted in denying many people of their human
Hsiao-Hung Pai is an investigative journalist whose main areas of interest are migration and labour, women and feminism and nationalism. She writes for the Guardian, Feminist Review, Socialist Review, Open Democracy, and many Chinese publications worldwide. She lives in London and this is her fifth book.