Leslie searles




Thousands of Haitians fled to Brazil after the earthquake that struck the country in 2010. Many were denied entrance and were detained at the border for months.

The aim of this project was to explore the conditions of Haitian immigrants who were stranded for four months on the Peruvian border with Brazil while in search of their Brazilian dream. They set out on a long and expensive journey to Brazil, which had drawn some 4500 Haitians until that time.

The project began in Iñapari, a remote town located in the Peruvian part of the Amazon rainforest bordering on the Brazilian municipality of Assis, where more than 250 Haitians were stranded after the Brazilian government restricted the entry of immigrants into the country. This harsh regulation, introduced at the beginning of 2012, sought to stop the wave of Haitians immigrants that was triggered by the 2010 earthquake. A large number of illegal Haitian immigrants seeking humanitarian refuge in Brazil fell victim to mafias and people-traffickers who charged the large amounts of money to take them clandestinely through the rainforest to the other side of the border.

Despite the absence of necessary services and adequate infrastructure, Iñapari became a temporary refuge, while the Haitians waited anxiously to cross the border. The immigrants subsisted through the charity shown by the town and assistance from the municipal authorities of Assis. The town´s facilities (such as the church and greenhouse) were turned into provisional shelters. The health center opened its doors to give the immigrants medical assistance, while Assis offered a constant supply of food and other provisions.