Goodbye Lesbos

On March 18th 2016, the European Union and Turkey signed an agreement that aimed to stop the influx of refugees arriving on the Greek islands. The Turkish government agreed to take back all migrants in exchange for financial help and easy access to EU visas for their citizens.

This agreement took effect the day I arrived on the Island of Lesbos, on which thousands of refugees landed prior to this agreement. I decided to photograph the immediate effect of this deal and its impact on the island.

The island became famous for its so-called 'life jacket graveyard' which has become a symbol of the refugee crisis. More than 450,000 life jackets, one for each migrant, have accumulated on the island of Lesbos. They represent the many lives that left something behind on the island. However, those life jackets also represent the gruesome business of human smuggling. Many refugees cannot afford genuine life jackets and result into buying fake ones from Turkish shops for £10 on average.

Many migrants on the island feared for their future in Europe as the EU closed their doors.

Meanwhile, volunteers and charities as well as the people of Lesbos protested against this agreement that targets migrants on the island.