People have been leaving East-Central Europe in droves to get better jobs and opportunities further to the west. These diaspora populations are now very visible in the UK, France, and Germany. Considerably less attention, however, has been paid to all the people that have come to East-Central Europe in search of better lives. The region has long been a transit area for those seeking eventual safe harbor in Western Europe.
Hungary has been the second leading country, according to the European border agency FRONTEX, for detaining people attempting “irregular border crossings,” to use the EU lingo. Those numbers went up dramatically in 2013, from under 10,000 to over 25,000. The top migrants are Kosovars, followed by Pakistanis, Afghanis, and Algerians. Today, about200,000 foreign citizens live in Hungary.
Kamara Peter is one of these foreign citizens. He is originally from Sierra Leone. He had no intention of coming to Hungary. He only wanted to leave his war-torn country. But the ship that ferried him to Europe simply dropped him off somewhere on the coast – he doesn’t know where. He and a few others walked in the direction of what they thought was Italy.