Libye : Plaque tournante du trafic humain
Prix Carmignac du photojournalisme
Six years after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in October 2011, Libya is experiencing an unprecedented political, military and humanitarian crisis. The Government of National Accord, created under the aegis of the UN, has not yet managed to exercise its authority, and violent fighting between militias and rival factions keeps breaking out in the territory on a daily basis. The surge of hope that followed the revolution has now given way to chaos.
The Carmignac Photojournalism Award decided to support an in-depth research project in this country where little to no images are currently being taken and published.
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.
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.
Narciso Contreras is an award winning documentary photographer born in Mexico City in 1975.
Since 2010 he has been covering a variety of issues and topics in
Southern Asia and the Middle East, leading him to focus his work on the
humanitarian cost of conflicts, economics and wars. His work aims to
contribute to building a visual memory of the world he sees.
His studies in philosophy, photography and visual anthropology led him to live and study in a monastery in India while photographing religious communities. Since then, Narciso has photographed under reported issues like the ethnic war in Myanmar and the forgotten war in Yemen, as well as some of the major current events, such as the political upheavals in Istanbul, the conflict in Gaza, the military coup in Egypt, the war in Syria and the tribal conflict in Libya.
Narciso’s work in Syria was awarded one of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2013, and received recognition in Pictures of the Year International. He has contributed to magazines and media outlets around the globe including TIME magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times. He also has contributed to non-governmental organizations like MSF (Doctors Without Borders).
He is currently photographing the migrants’ crisis in North Africa as part of a long-term project of documentation based on the worldwide conceived phenomenon of a “massive human displacement.
Libye, plaque tournante du trafic humain
At the start of 2016, Narciso Contreras started documenting the crisis.
He worked on the hypothesis that the country was a transit destination for migrants trapped in a country fighting a tribal civil war. Rich in oil, minerals and natural resources, Libya is home to tribespeople with long-standing grudges, who battle each other for control of the country and its purse strings. Migrants passing through their land have become the latest currency.
What he found, during three trips made to the region from February to June, would allow Contreras to tell a story that previously had gone untold. Stories about detention centres and the trafficking market had been documented, but fear of repercussions and the difficulty of gaining access to detention centres meant that the information was always shut down.
In pursuit of his story, Contreras would be passed from office to office, grappling with surreal bureaucracy, in an attempt to verify the official line of the Libyan government.
Officials stated that they were tackling the crisis, but that they were swamped and needed international help.
All attempts by Contreras to confirm this failed. Instead, Contreras concluded that, far from resolving it, Libyan authorities were running, and profiting from, the trafficking of human beings.
Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Patrick Baz, Founder of the Photodesk for the Middle East and North Africa,
Agence France Presse
Janine di Giovanni, Editor-in-chief for the Middle East, Newsweek
Thierry Grillet, Chief Curator, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF)
Mikko Takkunen, Photo Editor, The New York Times
Christophe Gin, Laureate of the 6th Carmignac Photojournalism Award
Libya : A Human Marketplace
Co-published par : Skira/ Fondation Carmignac
Date of release : November 7th 2016
Contributors : Narciso Contreras
Price : 35 euros, 45 USD, 58 CAD, 35 GBP