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This is the problem faced by undocumented African immigrants in Europe. There are only so many cash-in-hand positions for cleaners, fruit-pickers and building-site workers, so many find themselves having to turn to the more "illegal" professions, such as prostitution or selling drugs. Your existence in the country is already seen as "illegal", so what difference does it make? Hence "Under Pressure", the title of the fourth episode of Surprising Europe, which takes a look at the risky jobs some undocumented Africans do to eat and pay their rent in Europe. We meet a young Gambian guy who spent almost four months looking for work in Barcelona before deciding to do what his fellow Gambian flatmates did: sell weed on the streets. Most of the city's weed-sellers, he says, are Gambian, while its cocaine sellers are mostly Nigerian. Selling weed means being constantly on the look-out for the police, who don't need to see you selling anything at all to search and arrest you. Thus you live with fear from the moment you step out of your front door in the morning till you return at night. Only to go through it again the next day. This fear and the need for constant vigilance is brilliantly captured in the film Biutiful; if you haven't seen it already, you must. The Gambian guy says his parents back home wouldn't approve of what he does, but this is what he has to do to send them money.
TV Episode 4
Music video of K-nell from Germany: Surprising Europe
Demonstration for permits in Paris and music video of Lord Ekomy Ndong
Finding work in Europe