I was in Libya for six months and in prison for four months. It was very cramped. They took all our things away from us. The first prison, the guards beat me and kicked me repeatedly, sometimes more than once a day, this lasted for at least three months. The second prison, I had done one month. Then I escaped. Many, many, many of the people I saw in prison would get a gun smashed against their head or legs. I had a gun held to my head when I demanded food for the work I did. You are forced to work long hours without pay and sometimes they feed you. Mostly they don’t.
I saw a man get beaten with a large pipe and they put an electric cords(shocks) on him. Near his eyes and feet.
The reason I fled Africa, its a difficult place to live, to make it there is not easy and no jobs are available.
Once I escaped the prison, a man helped me. I then paid a man and he managed to get me on the boat. Once in the water I thought I was going to die. It was so dark. No light. People were fighting to sit in the middle of the boat and not on the sides.
I want to reach Italy for many reasons. But once there I wanna bring my family from Gambia. My parents deserve a better life. I am sad. I haven’t spoken to them for months… I miss them…but the journey was worth the risk.
Libya is not a good country. Everyone disrespects black men and women. They treat you like dirt. You’re worthless to them and that’s why I risked my life to be here today. I didn’t see any other way out. Jean / 20 / Gambia
Photo and story: Kenny Karpov