Photojournalism by James Forde.
In 2002, the Sangatte refugee camp near the French port town of Calais was closed after only three years. The fate of the camp, which was home to between 800 and 2000 asylum seekers at any given time, was a point of contention between French and British authorities. Official figures show that after the closure in 2002, the number of illegal immigrants entering the U.K. via Calais dropped by 88 percent—from 10,000 in 2002 to 1,500 in 2006. The Dublin Regulation states that a refugee must seek asylum in the first safe European country that they arrive in, but Britain is the preferred country of many asylum seekers, as they already speak English and are under the impression that they will more easily find work there.
Calais has always had problems with asylum seekers, but in 2014 there was a huge influx of new arrivals. The official camp closed 13 years ago, taking with it the aid and humanitarian work of the French Red Cross, but there are once again large numbers in makeshift camps near Calais. Several squatted-in buildings have been opened with the help of an activist organization called No Borders, and several camps known as “Jungles” have been erected around the city. Currently, the largest communities are Sudanese, Eritreans, and Afghans.
The gap from Calais to Dover is 33 km. While this may seem like a short distance to some, in this case it separates worlds, leaving many souls in limbo.
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