September 3, 2015 4:18 PM EDT

It was an image seen around the world on Thursday: a 3-year-old boy lying lifeless on a beach in Turkey, drowned with his family trying to flee Syria.

The disturbing photograph struck an emotional chord with viewers and highlighted the horror of the escalating migrant crisis in Europe. It also ignited controversy by mere fact of its publication. It’s controversial to publish photos this graphic in nature, yet versions of the image made the front page of major news outlets all over the world.

Through it’s unprecedented exposure to audiences across the globe, these shocking photographs have become a wakeup call for concerned citizens and European governments to find ways to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping to their shores.

Read More:

The Child Who’s Become a Symbol of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Father of Drowned Syrian Boys Describes How Tragedy Unfolded

Canada Says It Didn’t Receive Refugee Application From Drowned Boy’s Family

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

EDIT POST