According to the study of Sahan, three main routes are taken by migrants and refugees, in which there are a number of smuggling and trafficking networks.

The First route: The central Mediterranean route
This route goes through Sudan and Libya via ways of Humera and Metema. Smugglers offer free rides to lure clients. The migrants are expected to make their first payment on their arrival otherwise they will be prone to being sold off to ransom collectors. Often times, women are raped by Libyan militia and many others are subdued to hideous treatments; severe beatings and torture.

In case these refugees and migrants fall in the hands of the Islamic state (IS) they are most likely executed (beheaded). This was stated in Sahan's study "They were held up by an IS checkpoint. The IS fighters separated the Christians from the Muslims, with some refugees and migrants feigning devotion to Islam in order to be grouped with the Muslims"

Many migrants - specifically Sudanese - avoid this route and choose to enter Egypt instead of Libya. Then they carry on to Alexandria where they can look for boats to take them to Europe.

Ethiopian police discovered an integrated network that spans from Ethiopia to Sudan, and Khartoum is becoming a hub for smuggling networks.

The Second route: The corridor to South Africa - Study by Sahan Africa
Migrants of several nationalities - notably Ethiopians - cross the border to reach Kenya.
Once in Kenya, they are usually connected to smugglers who will drive them to Tanzania and sometimes all the way to South Africa. Other migrants choose to leave the continent and cross to the other side of the Atlantic - Latin America- some even travel forward to the USA.

These migrants and refugees run the risk of being arrested in Kenya or Tanzania as a result of the treaties signed between these countries and Ethiopia.

The 3rd route: the Gulf route (Study by Matthew Bryden from Sahan Africa think-tank)
Prior to 2013 around 500.000 people - mostly Somalis and Ethiopians - crossed the red sea and the Gulf of Aden. Thousands of them go missing as soon as they reach the shores of the Gulf countries, particularly women. The number of people taking this route dropped after 2015 when Saudi Arabia announced that they will no longer tolerate irregular migrants. This path is becoming hard to manage because of the Yemeni conflict. Despite the drop of the number of people taking this route, the UNHCR keeps on documenting a huge number of people smuggled from Somaliland and Puntland coast. Between July and September 2015 over 5000 people were registered as arriving to the Arabian coast through this route which is also used to smuggle weapons between the Somali coast and Yemen.