The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: Risking Everything for a Chance at a Better Life

People from impoverished and war-torn countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia continue to flee their homes in huge numbers, making perilous journeys to Europe in search of security, opportunity, and a new home. The United Nations estimates that 60,000 migrants have already made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea this year, landing in Southern Europe, while another 1,800 attempted the crossing but did not survive. After making deals with traffickers and traveling overland to Turkey or the near-anarchy of Libya, suffering at the hands of smugglers, and dodging war zones and government checkpoints, these people are crammed onto tiny or antiquated vessels and launched into the Mediterranean. Often, distress calls are sounded soon after they depart, and they then must rely on European rescue vessels to pick them up, gambling that they will be reached before their boats capsize. The European Commission is now proposing EU member nations take in the rising wave of migrants based on a quota scheme, while the European Union has proposed conducting search-and-destroy operations against empty Libyan smuggling boats.
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Guillermo Arias / AFP / Getty

    10 Days Along the Border

    Earlier this month, Agence France-Presse photographers Jim Watson and Guillermo Arias traveled the length of the U.S.–Mexico border.

  • Stephen Yang / Getty

    Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Burn Their Camp Ahead of Evacuation

    For months, protesters have camped in the frigid North Dakota winter, opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Recently, state officials ordered them to evacuate the campground, located on federal land, due to spring flooding.

  • Manu Fernandez / AP

    A Weekend of Protest

    Over the past few days, thousands and thousands of citizens around the world marched through the streets, voicing their opposition to, or support for, dozens of issues.

  • Jessica Chou

    Americans at Work: The Gig Economy

    This week, our “Americans at Work photo essay features photographs of millennial freelancers living in Los Angeles made by photographer Jessica Chou.

Join the Discussion