Every year thousands of boats carrying refugees arrive on Italy's shores. The majority of them land on Lampedusa. No one knows how many people died in the attempt to reach Europe. Aid organizations estimate that for every three refugees that make it, one is left behind at sea.
Today the 130-kilometer (81-mile) passage from Tunisia to Lampedusa, a 10-hour journey by fishing boat, is the easiest route for refugees from Africa. The truth is that global asylum seeker numbers have increased significantly in the past two years. From 2007 to 2008 asylum seeker numbers rose by 122 per cent only in Italy.
The reason for this large increase is mostly because of the continuing or escalating violence in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Sri Lanka, to name but a few. An increased number of worldwide "push factors" have forced a larger number of refugees from their homes. They dream for a better future and coming here they became hostages to that same right of asylum that should have granted them freedom. They are forced to labors with no right or protection, constantly risking to be denounced.
They have dreams of becoming doctors, engineers and teachers, yet here they’re treated as if they were just vagabonds to be chased away, sent back home or palmed off on someone else. They’ve escaped death in the war so none of them would return to their countries. But at the same time, they don’t know where they’ll be in a day’s time or where they can live. They have to hide, stay in one place and just wait. But sometimes, staying waiting in one place is the only thing they can hope for: it’s better to be refugees in one place than forever on the run.
This project was carried out in different regions of Italy, from Rome, Florence to the southern rural areas of Puglia where most refugees serves as hands for the agricultural black labour market.