Calais last stop before England

During the year 2006 and 2007 I went regularly to the french town of Calais to document the living conditions of asylum seekers and migrants who tried to reach England.

Located in the region of Pas de Calais on the Côte d’Opale, just opposite the british town of Dover 34 km across the north sea. Calais is a major port for ferries linking France to England. For asylum seekers and migrants that want to go towards England its is the best choice. Anyways it should be. However since increasingly harsh measures have been put in place in Calais as well as around Europe to prevent anyone without a visa to pass, the migrants and asylum seekers are often blocked for weeks or months. In 2002 the french authorities closed a Red Cross center located in the nearby the town of Sangatte on grounds that it supposedly attracted the refugees. Four years later, Afghan, Kurds, Eritreans, Somalis still wander in the french town. Only now they sleep in slums and squat’s. During the daytime they wait for food distributed by charities, at night they try to reach England by climbing in the trucks embarking on ferries crossing the Channel. If they fail, they go back to the dunes where shelters are built to spend the night.

I presented this work for my end of studies essay. I was awarded the honors from the school’s jury and won the first prize of the Fortis photo awards.