What do money and financial transactions tell us about migrant journeys?
This publication investigates what money and financial transactions can reveal about the journeys and experiences of forced migration. It examines money as a key node of the displacement experience: fueling transactions among formal and informal actors along the way; determining livelihood options; shaping or restructuring kinship networks; and coloring risks, vulnerabilities, or protective forces available to refugees.
The review highlights these transactions and the power dynamics that unfold among refugees as well as between refugees and formal or informal authorities. Four specific areas of inquiry emerged during this study:
How do refugees gather, move, store, spend, and make money along the journey of their displacement? How do their strategies lead to enhanced risk and/or self-protection along the way?
How do financial transactions structure relationships among refugees, as well as between refugees and formal or informal authorities, such as smugglers, informal money transfer agents, and formal banking systems?
How does the humanitarian system—and, in particular, cash assistance to refugees— shape the aforementioned financial transactions and relationships?
What are the roles of refugee identity—in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, and family status—and the documentation of that identity in shaping financial transactions, relationships, vulnerability, and coping strategies?