Some 76,600 female migrants arrived in Europe between 2018 and 2020 according to data from the IOM at United Nations Migration.
In 2020 alone, almost 100,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea and land via the Eastern Central, and Western Mediterranean routes. Some 14% of these are women and girls. Children accounted for almost a quarter of arrivals.
In 2020, some 113,927 migrants were registered transiting borders in the Western Balkans. While numbers in the region decreased overall when compared with the previous year, it was still significantly higher than the 58,1010 registered in 2018.
According to data made available from Albania, only around 1-2 % of migrants were female in the last three years. This equates to some 6000 women transition across the Western Balkan region between 2018 and 2020. This could be much higher due to the under-reporting of these groups in official statistics.
Most women traveled with at least one family member. Only 4% traveled solo,
The most common reasons given for fleeing their homes were (in order) personal violence, economic reasons, war and conflict, and lack of basic or humanitarian services.
Depending on the location where they were registered, between 43% and 62% of female migrants said they were escaping personal violence. This was 17 percentage points higher than male respondents.
In the case of personal violence suffered, respondents were asked to specify which type of threat or violence they faced. The label “personal violence” includes a wide range of circumstances from domestic violence to inheritance issues, from discrimination based on religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity to opposition to un-approved marriages or threats of persecution
The intended destination countries were Spain, Italy, and Germany, followed by France and the UK.
Overall, some main reasons for the choice of the intended destinations were reported similarly by female respondents across all routes: 30 percent of the whole sample reported that the choice was guided by the appealing socio-economic conditions of the destination country (30%), while others mentioned the fact that it was the only choice available given the circumstances (21%), that the choice was made due to safety reasons (16%), or because they had some relatives (14%) or a network of co-nationals (6%) at the indented destination.
The IOM called on states to recognize the contribution of migrant women and girls into member state societies, to ensure women are involved in designing migrant centered initiatives, to recognize their skills and qualifications and to give access to educational training, and to ensure any returns are carried out with dignity and safety, paying attention to their sex-based needs and international human rights laws.
Special consideration should be given to the fact that women and girls are at risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation and conditions should be created whereby they are protected from migrant smuggling and human trafficking. Furthermore, the fact that trafficking is a sex-based crime, transregional cooperation is necessary to break the chain of trafficking and ensure survivors are protected.