In an interview with 60 Minutes‘ and Anderson Cooper, Alixandra Fazzina talks about her project “Flowers of Afghanistan” and the individual stories of Afghan children on the move.
Alixandra spent five years chronicling the travails of these refugees, who disappear frequently and often anonymously. She follows the children as they flee Afghanistan on their clandestine routes from Asia to Europe. Meanwhile her work intimately explores the motives, paths and consequences of this new exodus.
Growing numbers of vulnerable Afghan youths continue to make the difficult and dangerous overland journey to Europe. Last year saw a 64% increase in unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan arriving in the European Union who applied for asylum, the average age being just 14- 15 years old. Traveling alone they are exposed to abuse and exploitation by criminals or by the very smuggling networks in which their lives are placed. Ten years on from 9/11, the surge in the numbers of children entering Europe should be cause to reflect on the plight of Afghanistan’s youth in the shadow of war.
“All along the route, the boys are very, very vulnerable, they are robbed. They are kidnapped,” she tells Cooper. They will become the victims of their smugglers and their middle men. “They could be trafficked as sex workers, maybe they simply disappear. Nobody’s very sure,” says Alixandra.