2012.Corinth. Greece. 17-year old Ali from Algeria lives in the old train station of Corinth. In Corinth, a small sea town on the Peloponnese, the boarding of boats directly is attempted by group of North Africans who have established themselves in an old train station.
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17-year old Ali from Algeria lives in the old train station of Corinth, Greece. He hopes to be able to board a boat to Western Europe.Alessandro Penso
2012.Corinth. Greece. 17-year old Ali from Algeria lives in the old train station of Corinth. In Corinth, a small sea town on the Peloponnese, the boarding of boats directly is attempted by group of North Africans who have established themselves in an old train station.
2012. Greece. Orestiada. A group of migrants spends the night in the railway station of Orestiada after crossing the border with Turkey. In 2011/2012, around 80% of migration towards Europe crossed through Greek territory.
2012. Patrass. Greece. A group of Afghans in abandoned factory in Patras. Patras is one of the main escape points from Greece, due to the numerous cargo ships that dock in the port and are bound for Italy. It is therefore one of the points where it is possible to attempt to escape from Greece.
2013. Patras. Greece. Three young Afghans spend the night in an abandoned place near the beach of Patras. Patras is one of the main escape points from Greece, due to the numerous cargo ships that dock in the port and are bound for Italy. It is therefore one of the pointswhere it is possible to attempt to escape from Greece.
2011. Athens. Greece. Mohammed from Algeria lives inside the old Columbia records factory. Columbia was once a leader in the music industry but today the factory has been completely abandoned and kids of various nationalities now take refuge there.
2012. Patras. Greece. Young Afghans cooking in an abandoned factory in Patras. Patras is one of the main escape points from Greece, due to the numerous cargo ships that dock in the port and are bound for Italy. It is therefore one of the points where it is possible to attempt to escape from Greece.
2012. Patras. Greece. View from the factory where illegal immigrants live, near the port of Patras. Patras is one of the main escape points from Greece, due to the numerous cargo ships that dock in the port and are bound for Italy. It is therefore one of the points where it is possible to attempt to escape from Greece.
2012. Patras. Greece. A group of adolescents trying to illegally board trucks going to Italy.A group of Afghan boys aged 14 to 18 years, on a traffic island. Every day, these kids try to illegally board trucks going towards Italy. One of the most common ways of illegally leaving Greece which is attempted is the illegal boarding of goods trucks which will subsequently be loaded onto cargo ships for Italy. Over the years, many young people have lost their lives attempting this, while others have been stopped by the police. Only a very small percentage manages to succeed in this desperate attempt. Patras is one of the main escape points from Greece, due to the numerous cargo ships that dock in the port and are bound for Italy. It is therefore one of the points where it is possible to attempt to escape from Greece.
2012. Corinth. Greece. Mohammed, Ahmed and Nabi from Morocco in the wagon wherethey live in the abandoned train station of Corinth. In Corinth, a small sea town on the Peloponnese, the boarding of boats directly is attempted by group of North Africans who have established themselves in an old train station.
Corinth, Greece, February 2012 - A group of North Africans was attacked by three locals. Mostafa El Mouzdahir, a 20-year old from Morocco, was hit by a car and sustained multiple injuries. I went to see him in hospital. With him, he had a police form which asked him to leave the country within 15 days because he was there illegally.
2012. Patras. Greece. Afghan boys throwing stones into the sea. They are waiting forevening, when they will try to sneak into the port, where they hope to illegally board a ship bound for Italy. Patras is one of the main escape points from Greece, due to the numerous cargo ships that dock in the port and are bound for Italy. It is therefore one of the points where it is possible to attempt to escape from Greece.
2012. Corinth. Greece. Mohamed from Morocco and his friends hiding behind the rocks at the port during the night, waiting for the right moment to illegally board a ship to Italy. In Greece, more than 99.5% of requests for political asylum are refused, and for this reason, these young people are forced to hide from the authorities, because having a Greek police record would mean the end of the dream of safe reception in Europe.This is the story of young, unaccompanied migrants in Greece: young people who, everyday, confront the difficulties of a country tormented by the economic crisis. Greece also refuses asylum requests more than any other country in Europe, reaching a 99.5% refusalrate in 2012. Many young migrants therefore see other European countries as their only hope of a future, and attempt to leave Greece at the first possible moment, often indesperate ways, tolerating desperate conditions.
17-year old Ali from Algeria lives in the old train station of Corinth, Greece. He hopes to be able to board a boat to Western Europe.
Alessandro Penso
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Shining a Light on the Plight of Europe's Migrants, From Rome to Brussels

Jun 30, 2014

Italian photographer Alessandro Penso has spent the last few years documenting immigration issues in Europe. He’s photographed migrant workers in the south of Italy, detention centers in Malta and young men who risk everything trying to board trucks bound for Western Europe. For the next month, Penso is crisscrossing Europe on one of these trucks -- bringing his award-winning images to an audience that has largely turned a blind eye to the continent's intractable immigration crisis.

In Europe, migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they are first identified. These regulations have transformed Greece and Italy -- two countries with some of the toughest immigration rules in Europe -- into administrative limbos and have led “to an unfair distribution of asylum seekers and requests in European countries,” Penso tells TIME. “This situation has received much criticism in recent years, including in a report from the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, which found that the regulations obstruct the legal rights and personal wellbeing of asylum seekers, including their right to a fair examination of their request for asylum.”

Alessandro PensoAlessandro Penso 

Despite the criticism, little has been done to help these migrants, especially at a time when much of Europe is still grappling with an economic calamity that has raised unemployment rates and, to no one's surprise, has fueled the rise of nationalistic rhetoric and sentiments virtually everywhere.

“I wanted to find a way to re-establish contact with the broader community,” says Penso. “I felt the need to speak with the people who usually see only a small part of the situation, with the aim of raising awareness and encouraging discussion. What better place to do this than in piazzas and city squares, and what more symbolic a way than on a truck?”

Organised in collaboration with the Cortona On The Move photography festival, Penso’s truck has already visited Bari, Ancona, Rome, Florence and Milan in Italy, and will continue its way north to Strasbourg, France, and Brussels, Belgium – two cities where European regulations are crafted. “Most institutions and organizations talk only about numbers," Penso tells TIME. "This project gives a face, a voice and a story to these people. We want to reach Brussels, where the laws are actually discussed, in order to show their consequences. We want to bring the discussion back into human terms.”

The entire project is relayed on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on the Cortona On The Move website. “This social element is at the base of this project,” the photographer explains. “We speak to people, we discuss the problems and issues, and the conversations are always stimulating and intense. [We’re trying to] light a fuse -- a flame of curiosity so we can continue to ask ourselves questions and to critically evaluate what we hear and read about immigration.”

The European Dream project will culminate in a three-day exhibition at the Cortona On The Move photography festival in Italy on July 17, 2014.

Alessandro Penso is a freelance photographer and a World Press Photo winner.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent.

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