Borders

Jacqueline van Vugt
Netherlands | OmeU
Q&A with: Jacqueline van Vugt

When you don’t have papers in this coun­try, you suffer,” as one young Niger­ian woman in the Nether­lands knows first­hand. When she arrived here, human traf­fick­ers forced her to pay back a lot of money, and she was then tricked into pros­ti­tu­tion.

Jacque­line van Vugt trav­eled to Africa to observe the bor­ders that lie between Nige­ria and the Euro­pean Union – between Nige­ria and Niger, and on to Burk­i­na Faso, Sene­gal and fur­ther to the north. At each coun­try bound­ary, she met count­less people dream­ing of a better life, and con­vinced they would find it in the promised land of Europe. That dream exacts ter­ri­ble sac­ri­fices. Border zones are brutal envi­ron­ments marked by the ever-present threat of vio­lence, exploita­tion and exhaus­tion. One woman’s arm is tat­tooed with her address in case she gets lost or dies. The closer the migrants get to Europe, the more the dream loses its sheen. And anyone who makes it all the way will get noth­ing like the recep­tion he had hoped for. (P. van Huys­tee Film)