'My son was frozen in my arms': The families risking all in search of safety

This video contains distressing images

A father told ITV News' Emma Murphy how he lost all his fingers burying his two-year-old in the snow-capped mountains, after he froze to death on their journey to safety

In a small room close to the Turkish border with Iran, a family tell me why they left their home in Afghanistan.

They recount how they walked for 16 hours through snow-covered mountains desperately trying to keep their two-year-old son warm, until eventually the cold was too much and the little boy died.

With withered hands, the father scrapes at the carpet to demonstrate how he dug a grave in the snow and in the process lost all his fingers to frostbite.

'After 16 hours, my husband asked why our son wasn't crying. He was frozen in my arms and had no pulse.'

They had to leave Afghanistan when the Taliban took over. They wanted to stay but as a government worker the father was under threat.

As his colleagues got picked off and killed, he was warned he would be next and so they headed across the mountains to Iran, then onto Turkey.

The family are well-read and know the international debate about migration.

They know they are the people politicians speak about when they talk of threats to society. They do not recognise themselves as that.

The unmarked graves of those who have died trying to escape. Credit: ITV News

Speaking with numerous people on the move, there is no doubt Europe is the place most want to reach.

The United Kingdom is not always the country they name as their dreamed of destination. Most would prefer Germany where they believe there is a better chance of asylum and a stable future.

There are many drivers motivating migration: safety, survival and security - whether physical or financial - among the main ones.

ITV News' Emma Murphy spoke to two girls who lost their sister while fleeing for safety

Among those we spoke to this week - on the run from Afghanistan or Iran - there is one uniting factor.

They share a wish to be able to seek sanctuary by applying for asylum without risking their lives to do so.

When politicians call for a radical change in immigration policy, that wish for change is shared by those they speak of - people who want the chance to live legally in safety without dying trying to achieve it.

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