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Every year, thousands of young people from sub-Saharan Africa set off across the desert dreaming of a better life in Europe.
Many fall prey to ruthless smugglers or find themselves stranded in a foreign country without the means to continue or return home.
In this series, Jenny Cuffe meets the people involved - those who facilitate the human trade and those who gamble all in pursuit of their dreams.
She follows the journey of two migrants, Alfred Kofi, a 25 year old from Ghana and 19 year old Fereinatu Amedu from Nigeria.
She finds out why they risk their lives and what happens to those who never reach their destination.
Part One - Setting Out
Bus loads of travellers from West Africa arrive each day in Agadez, a desert town in Niger. Under the eye of local police, a network of middlemen and smugglers compete for trade, offering to take illegal migrants across the Sahara to Libya or Algeria.
We meet George from Cameroon, who dreams of playing for an Italian football club, and Sarki, the Tuareg smuggler who can outwit border guards with his intimate knowledge of the desert.
First broadcast 14 January 2008