Narciso Contreras – Libya: A Human Marketplace

Tajoura, May, 2016 © Narciso Contreras for the Carmignac Foundation
Tajoura, May, 2016 Narciso Contreras for the Fondation Carmignac

October 25 – November 13, 2016

This report narrates the thoughts and observations of photojournalist Narciso Contreras as he travels through the complex tribal society of post-Gaddafi Libya from February to June 2016, photographing the brutal reality of human trafficking.

Contreras lays bare an unfolding humanitarian crisis in which illegal migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are at the mercy of militias who exploit them for financial gain. Held in detention centres for illegal migrants, they are subjected to inhumane conditions including overcrowding, lack of sanitation and vicious beatings..

Contreras tells how he grappled with complex and at times surreal bureaucracy and logistics, picking his way through areas torn apart by sectarian violence in order to visit detention centre after detention centre. Frustrated by the government´s unwillingness to grant him access, Contreras was forced to circumnavigate the official channels and cultivate his own contact with people smugglers and tribespeople, which enabled him to understand the reality of trafficking in Libya.

Throughout this report, Contreras weaves a compelling narrative to show how, instead of being a place of transit for migrants on their way to Europe, Libya has actually become a trafficking market where people are bought and sold on a daily basis.

With this report, Narciso Contreras provides us with a glimpse of the complex and horrifying context anonymous migrants are faced with.

Hôtel de l’Industrie

4 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
75006 Paris

Every day from 11am to 7pm, until 10pm on Fridays.

Exhibition Photos

Exhibition view, Libya Turntable of Human Trafficking, Narciso Contreras, Hotel Industry, 2016
View of the exhibition, Libya: A Human Marketplace, Narciso Contreras, Hôtel de l'Industrie, 2016


Narciso Contreras – Libya: A Human Marketplace