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.
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