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‘My baby is my paper!’– Family ties of Nigerian female migrants on their way to Europe

Kristin Kastner

Africa Spectrum, 2007, vol. 42, issue 2, 251-273

Abstract: Many young Nigerian women’s main reason for migrating to Europe lies in the desire to support their families back home in Nigeria. For those who travel to Europe overland it means being on the road for months or even several years. In this transitional stage, new relationships – often highly provisional – develop, and many migrants get pregnant. Although their (unborn) children are often not the result of relationships based on mutual consent nor planned, they nonetheless may play a crucial role in being able to continue the journey: These days they represent a kind of protection and ‘papers’ and, thereby, reduce the risk for their mothers of being deported. Being mostly single mothers, soon after reaching Europe the young women take on the role of double breadwinners: On the one hand, they have to provide for their children who were born on the road or in the country of destination, on the other hand, they have to support their families in Nigeria. In analysing these new forms of family relationships that span from the country of origin to the transit country and the (provisional) destination country, the author also contributes to research on the dynamics of family structures in the context of migration.

Date: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:42:y:2007:i:2:p:251-273