By Joel Millman
By Joel Millman
For the men working in the Control Centre of the Coast Guard in Rome, there is no difference between night and day. In this high-tech room there are no windows – only rows of computers and screens displaying maps of the Mediterranean Sea (and the world) and the positions of military and commercial ships. This room controls the Coast Guard’s rescue operations at sea – hour by hour, without any interruption.
Lavan Sigavnanam returned from Benin, West Africa to Colombo, Sri Lanka in July 2012 as part of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme for West Africa.
As early as the 17th Century, the Caribbean island located off the northwest coast of Haiti had come to be known as a pirate haven. In the 21st Century, it is reliving this notoriety because it now is the main departure points for desperate irregular migrants who want to reach The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, or the United States.
Sandra tells in graphic, gruesome detail some of the pain and degradation that a migrant who’s desperate to start a new life somewhere has to undergo. It’s more painful to see these images in one’s mind than the scenes we see in the movies because these weren’t based on a true story. This is the true story.
By Laurentiu Ciobanica of IOM
First it was the photos that came with my job, day in day out. They showed their hands – learning to write, clinging to their offspring for dear life, counting money to send home; their feet – often bare, ill at ease in novelty shoes, itching to be on their way; their eyes - often amazed, often sad but always intense. All told a story - or several – if you had the time to notice.