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A Qualitative Study Exploring the Psychosocial Needs of Male Undocumented Afghan Migrants in Istanbul, Turkey

Qais Alemi (), Susanne Montgomery () and Carl Stempel ()
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Qais Alemi: Department of Social Work & Social Ecology, School of Behavioral Health, Loma Linda University, 1898 Business Center Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408, USA
Susanne Montgomery: Department of Social Work & Social Ecology, School of Behavioral Health, Loma Linda University, 1898 Business Center Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408, USA
Carl Stempel: Department of Sociology and Social Services, California State University, East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, CA 94542, USA

Societies, 2018, vol. 8, issue 2, 1-10

Abstract: (1) Background: Refugees and asylum-seekers from Afghanistan have been shown to be highly distressed as a result of pre- and post-resettlement traumas. However, little is known about the challenges that Afghan migrants endure while residing in Turkey, a population that has grown at unprecedented rates in recent years, and largely deemed illegal by Turkish asylum and settlement laws; (2) Methods: We conducted interviews with 15 Afghan males residing in Istanbul, Turkey in late 2015. A qualitative content analysis technique informed by Qualitative Description was used to analyze the data; (3) Results: Narratives revealed that motives for migrating to Turkey are driven by both a humanitarian need for protection against persecution and economic deprivation. While they are in transit, we observed that Afghan migrants are victimized, exposed to multiple traumas; and, in Turkey experience poverty, unemployment, and exploitation while living in poor conditions and receive no social assistance. Lastly, interviews revealed that their hopes reflect their motives for migrating, that is, to have a stable life and to support their families back home where ever they end up resettling; and (4) Conclusions: Our qualitative interviews clarified the harrowing and demoralizing transit experiences and the depth of exploitation and precarious living conditions that Afghans currently face. Findings have implications for asylum policies, and for delivering culturally-competent interventions that promote the overall well-being of Afghans in Turkey.

Keywords: Afghan; asylum; migrant; moral injury; refugee; stress; trauma; Turkey (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 A14 P P0 P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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