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This is what it's like for migrants making the perilous trek into France

Migrants and refugees are trying to pass through Italy in order to reach France. But now they have to go through a treacherous mountain path.

by Steven Bartus and Ben Ferguson
Feb 28 2018, 5:15pm

Last year, 171,000 migrants reached the shores of Europe — down from more than a million at the height of crisis in 2015. The majority passed through Libya into Italy via the central Mediterranean route, a perilous crossing that took the lives of almost 3,000 people in 2017.

For many migrants, danger doesn’t end upon their safe arrival into Italy. Those looking to travel deeper into Europe through France now face Italian and French police, who are cracking down on well-known passages. As a result, many are forced to embark on another treacherous route this winter: a trek through the Alps.

After a crackdown at the southern coastal crossing in Ventimiglia, young migrants have started coming north to the ski town of Bardonecchia in order to walk across the mountainous frontier. They see this less-policed route as an opportunity to make it over the border, despite frigid temperatures and deep snow.

Migrants sleep inside Bardonecchia's train station before attempting the treks through the mountains. (Dan Bateman/VICE News)

VICE News followed two groups of men hoping to reach France by foot during one of Europe’s harshest winters in a decade.

Migrant waits inside the train station before embarking on the dangerous route through the Alps to reach France. (Dan Bateman/VICE News

This segment originally aired February 21, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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Europe
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immigration
Libya
border patrol
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Italian Alps