Salamatou is a mother of three children. In 2017, accompanied by her youngest daughter, she decided to join her husband living in Algeria, crossing the desert.
I arrived in Algeria by bus after several months spent in the desert. Frankly, I bitterly regret this adventure and I don’t even wish my enemy to go there. After joining my husband in Algeria, he beat me and ended up throwing me out. With my daughter, we spent a whole year begging in the streets of Algiers to survive, because I didn’t have any means to return to Côte d’Ivoire. So, I decided to cross the desert to get back to Côte d’Ivoire, at that time I didn’t know about IOM.
During my crossing, I was kidnapped and raped with my children. It was really a horrible experience, I spent days without food, I saw people dying before my eyes in the desert. I really went through hell on that trip. Young people need to know that it is our own brothers who sell us and rape us in the desert. All they are interested in is money. In Abidjan, they promise us a dream just to get our money, but when you get there, it becomes disillusionment and regret at the risk of your life. A few weeks after my departure from Algeria, I found myself at IOM Niger and I decided to start the procedures to return home for good.
Salamatou voluntarily returned to Côte d’Ivoire in October 2018. She benefited from IOM’s assistance to send her daughter to school and also to start a commercial activity that allows her today to provide for her daily needs and those of her family.