Migrants sit on the back of a truck as it makes its way along a dusty street in the desert town of Agadez, a major transit point on the people-smuggling route to Europe.
While some 2,000 people have died attempting to traverse the Mediterranean so far this year, the International Organization for Migration warns that at least as many migrants may die during the long desert crossing from Niger, the main staging post for West Africans seeking to make the journey to Europe.
The death of 92 migrants from thirst - mostly women and children - when their vehicle broke down en route to Algeria, to Libya's west, in 2013 prompted authorities to briefly crack down on the corridor - but the lucrative trade quietly returned.
"The desert has always been a cemetery for immigrants, in silence and complete indifference. Travellers tell us they often find bodies - skeletons ravaged by the sands," said Agadez Mayor Rhissa Feltou.