Boat Migration and Malta
Since 2002, some 19,000 people fleeing from Africa and the Middle East to the European mainland have inadvertently ended up on Malta’s shores, a tiny, independent island state in the centre of the Mediterranean. The island is right in the middle of the route taken by boat people as they struggle to reach Europe in tiny, barely seaworthy boats. Thousands have drowned during the crossing, one of the most dangerous migration routes on the planet.
With a population of 423,000 inhabitants and an area of 316 square kilometres, the European Union member state has struggled to cope with the influx of refugees and migrants, challenging the country’s reputation for friendliness and hospitality. Efforts at integration have not always been helped by the fact that most of the migrants only want to stay on the island long enough to save up enough money to continue their journey, irrespective of whether legally or not, to the mainland.
The photos in this book, covering everything from rescues at sea, life in detention camps, right through to refugees being permanently resettled in the U.S. and continental Europe, were shot on assignment for Times of Malta, Reuters and a host of other international publications between 2004 and 2014.