The Migrants Files is a project by a European consortium of journalists that aims at precisely assessing the number of men, women and children that died as a result of EU Member States migration policies.

Financed by Journalismfund.eu, the team of journalists started putting together all the data available on migrants casualties since 2000. Publications include Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zürich), Sydsvenskan (Malmö), L’Espresso (Rome), Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris), RadioBubble (Athens) and El Confidencial (Madrid).

What they found out:

  • By aggregating sources together, they showed that the number of sourced dead and missing migrants is 50% higher than current estimates.
  • Mortality rates between migration routes vary widely, from 2% in the Canaries to 6% near Malta and Lampedusa. EU Member States constantly close the routes with low mortality, pushing migrants towards the more dangerous ones.
  • No EU Member State or EU institution has data on migrants death. For some Member States, dead migrants “aren’t migrating anymore, so why care?”, in the words of a public official.
  • When it comes to talking of “lives saved” and security of migrations, politician and border guards engage in shameless lies and whitewashing of their activities and programs, renaming surveillance and push-back activity into search and rescue operations.

The Migrant Files won in 2014 the European Press Prize, Innovation Award,
the Global Editors Network Data Journalism Awards and the Gold Medal at 'Premios ÑH'.

(Photos © UNHCR A. Rodrigez)

Team members

Nicolas Kayser-Bril

Nicolas Kayser-Bril is a French data journalist based in Berlin.

Jens Finnäs

Jens Finnäs is a Swedish journalist.

Sylke Gruhnwald

Sylke Gruhnwald is editor-in-chief of the Swiss magazine Republik.

Jean-Marc Manach

Jean-Marc Manach is a French investigative journalist working on surveillance, privacy and intelligence issues (among other things) since the late 90s.

Andrea Nelson Mauro

Andrea Nelson Mauro is an Italian journalist based in Bologna.

Andrea Nelson Mauro

Alessio Cimarelli

Alessio Cimarelli is an Italian freelance data journalist/scientist based in Bologna.

Daniele Grasso

Daniele Grasso is an Italian data - driven journalist based in Madrid at El Pais.

Katerina Stavroula

Katerina Stavroula is a freelance reporter, data journalist and communication specialist based in Athens.

Katerina Stavroula

Jacopo Ottaviani

Jacopo Ottaviani is an Italian award-winning computer scientist and data journalist who manages Code for Africa’s (CfA) Knowledge portfolio, as Chief Data Officer (CDO).

Grant of €7.280, awarded on 28/11/2013




  • Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH)
  • L'espresso (IT)
  • Sydsvenskan (SE)
  • Le Monde Diplomatique (FR)
  • De Groene Amsterdammer (NL): 'De dodelijke grenzen van Europa', 5 May 2014

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.