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The Gate to Paradise

An Italian island that became a beacon for African migrants heading to Europe

In search of a better life, thousands of Africans sail for the Italian Island of Lampedusa – the closest European destination to their own countries devastated by revolution and economic crisis. The journey is hard to arrange: it’s costly and travellers are at the mercy of boatmen, often unscrupulous traffickers. The waters are treacherous and have already claimed hundreds of lives. The authorities are determined to intercept would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the border. Yet, in spite of all the hardship and danger, desperate African men and women continue to take the chance. Those who survive and reach the island for which they risked their lives, soon discover that, without papers or knowing the language, the future in a foreign country may be even more uncertain than in their own.

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