On The Migrant Trail in Calais

In recent days, French authorities confirmed that the number of people living in informal camps outside Calais, France, has doubled to 6,000 and that since June, a total of 16 migrants have been killed in or near the Channel Tunnel while trying to make the journey from France to the United Kingdom.

IOM photojournalist Amanda Nero was recently in Calais.

Just as the sun sets over the horizon, the migrants living in Calais’ ‘New Jungle’ begin their journey on foot towards the entrance of the Eurotunnel, with the specific aim of getting onto one of the trains or trucks heading to the UK.

Located seven kilometers from the port city of Calais, the informal migrant camps are a melting pot of nationalities which include Afghans, Pakistanis, Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sundanese, amongst many others. The migrants living in the camp want to cross to the UK for different reasons.

There are widespread rumors going round that as soon as they reach English soil they will have a place to stay and the government will take care of them. “When you arrive there, they put you in a 5 star hotel. It is true, my friend who lives there told me,” says Mohamed, a migrant from Sudan who graduated in finance.

Others believe that it will be easier to find a job because of the language. “There I can find a job because I can speak English, here I cannot,” another migrant explains.

Some want to go to England because they have family or friends there.

“My daughter and my wife are there,” says Amaur from Sudan.

This photo series shows a short part of their hopeful journey towards the UK.

The long walk towards towards the UK starts at dawn.

The long walk towards towards the UK starts at dawn. 

 The only ‘luggage’ they carry with them is water, some food and their mobile phones.