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2021 Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Small Newsroom finalist

Shield of Europe – The Human Cost of Migration Policy

About the Project

Synopsis: When a young woman from Afghanistan escapes a forced marriage, she flees to Europe and ends up in Camp Moria, a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Living through the effects of European migration policies, she witnesses first-hand the humanitarian cost at which they come.

SHIELD OF EUROPE is an interactive long-read experience about the human cost of European migration policies. It gives an up-close perspective on the lives of the people who are stuck on the Greek islands, while also explaining the cause of their suffering. Marzia’s story focuses on one of the most commonly used entry routes into Europe used by refugees, but stories like hers are common throughout the European border region. They are the result of policies intended to shield Europe from asylum seekers that come at high humanitarian costs.

Asylum seekers wishing to enter Europe have been getting stuck on Greek islands since 2016. Living in camps under dire circumstances, they are restricted to the islands until their asylum procedures are completed. That can take years. “”The hardship they endure during that time is the result of policy decisions aimed at preventing and deterring migration, made despite the high humanitarian cost,” says Krings. “”I wanted to explain those policies and show the humanity of the people affected, so that the cost would become more visible.” Krings returned to the island several times and spent a total of three months there, working on SHIELD OF EUROPE.

SHIELD OF EUROPE was made possible by the many asylum seekers like Marzia who had the courage to share stories and let the photojournalist into their lives.