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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 11:14 GMT
Migrant centre to open in Libya
Tailors in Serrekunda market, The Gambia
Migrants will be given sewing machines to start a business
A centre to help migrants return home is opening in Libya's capital, Tripoli.

Migrants will be given equipment to help them set up small businesses back home, while the centre also provides temporary shelter for 40 people.

Libya is a key transit-point for African migrants heading for Europe but people often find themselves stranded there because they run out of money.

"People realise their migration dream cannot come true," Laurence Hart, one of the organisers, told the BBC.

The centre, run by the International Organization of Migration and sponsored by the European Union, also trains Libyan immigration officials to encourage voluntary return as opposed to deportation.

Mr Hart, from the IOM, said some people who had got as far as Libya were afraid of the dangers and did not want to continue with their journey.

"It's difficult for them to go back empty-handed," he said, because friends and family had lent them money for the journey. So the IOM would provide equipment such as sewing machines and water pumps to those who agreed to return home.

One beneficiary of the scheme, Seidou Momo from Ghana, said some people he had travelled with had died crossing the Libyan desert, while others had perished during the sea journey to Europe.

Map showing main migration routes

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