Only 8 miles separate Morocco from Spain, Africa from mainland Europe. It’s famous as one of the worlds busiest and most hazardous migration routes.
Most of the migrants are caught. According to European human rights legislation those who are under 18 may not be sent back to their country of origin but must be cared for and educated in Spain. How far Spain complies with this law is unclear – accusations of mistreatment in the detention centres are commonplace. Spain also continues to find ways of sending the children back to Morocco, where their treatment at the hands of the authorities is also far from ideal and often ends with them being left in groups on the side of a highway in the desert.
Many recognise that the only real way to stop children from attempting the crossing in the first place is to offer them an eduction and thereby a means to live a decent life in Morocco. The Tangier based charity DARNA provides such an education, and I visited one of their establishments: the “Blue House”. Some of the children here have attempted the crossing themselves, but most have simply been identified as likely to try unless they are offered help.
These pictures were taken over the course of a few hours, and represent only the first part of an ongoing project.