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Shelters of Ciudad Juárez

Allan Mestel | Chihuahua State, Mexico

Organization: Allan Mestel Photography


The city of Juárez, Mexico, is one of the most violent cities in the world. It is a waystation for migrants who have traveled thousands of miles seeking asylum in the US. There they are regularly targeted for kidnapping, extortion, rape and human trafficking. The city is so dangerous for women that the term ‘feminicide’ has become inextricably linked with the city. Statistics show that the vast majority of migrant women have suffered some form of traumatic abuse during their journey.

US refusal to admit migrant families on the pretext of public health concerns means these people are trapped without money, connections or resources. A series of grass-roots organizations have taken on the arduous and dangerous job of providing shelter for them while they petition the US government for admission or, in extreme cases, make the heartbreaking decision to send their children over the bridges alone, knowing they will be admitted as unaccompanied minors.

In May 2021 I travelled to Juárez and through connections with migrant rights organizations was permitted to photograph migrant families at two of these shelters. These are those images.

Allan Metsel



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