The names of those immigrants who reached to cross the European border controls are written on the wall in the port of Tanger. The names of those immigrants who reached to cross the European border controls are written on the wall in the port of Tanger.
Harraga do not work. During the day they are just hanging around, they are playing cards. They wait for a night to try their luck, cross the sea and get to Europe. Harraga do not work. During the day they are just hanging around, they are playing cards. They wait for a night to try their luck, cross the sea and get to Europe.
Harraga never try to cross the port's checkings without having at least five euro to bribe the police if they get caught. Otherwise they may be sent to prison or back to their place of residence. Harraga never try to cross the port's checkings without having at least five euro to bribe the police if they get caught. Otherwise they may be sent to prison or back to their place of residence.
Immigrants running to escape the Moroccan police. Port authorities are checking the trucks but Harraga always find a new trick. Immigrants running to escape the Moroccan police. Port authorities are checking the trucks but Harraga always find a new trick.
Harraga do not hide themselves just in the bottom of the truck, between the wheels. They often break into the semi-trailer unit. Harraga do not hide themselves just in the bottom of the truck, between the wheels. They often break into the semi-trailer unit.
The majority of fugitives are begging for food but there are some Harraga who live off the little thieveries or some sell hashis to foreigners. The majority of fugitives are begging for food but there are some Harraga who live off the little thieveries or some sell hashis to foreigners.
Moroccan young boys who intend to escape from Morocco live in shacks built around the port of Tanger. Moroccan young boys who intend to escape from Morocco live in shacks built around the port of Tanger.
Immigrants do not like to be photographed, some of the fugitives left unsolved problems in their home towns, some Harraga are wanted in Morocco. Immigrants do not like to be photographed, some of the fugitives left unsolved problems in their home towns, some Harraga are wanted in Morocco.
Harraga refugees sleep on the beach of Tanger after a busy night when they were trying to get inside the port and escape illegaly from Morocco. Harraga refugees sleep on the beach of Tanger after a busy night when they were trying to get inside the port and escape illegaly from Morocco.
Moroccan immigrant climbs the wall of the port. The night makes the runaway a bit easier than during the day because customs officers tend to cheat the checkings in the early morning. Moroccan immigrant climbs the wall of the port. The night makes the runaway a bit easier than during the day because customs officers tend to cheat the checkings in the early morning.
In December 2007 the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia estimated there are about 7000 minors without parental consent living in Spain. The majority of them come from Morocco. In December 2007 the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia estimated there are about 7000 minors without parental consent living in Spain. The majority of them come from Morocco.
Harraga refugees mainly come to Tanger from shanty towns in big cities like Casablanca, Rabat or Marrakesh. In Tanger they get into even worse living conditions than in a slum. Harraga refugees mainly come to Tanger from shanty towns in big cities like Casablanca, Rabat or Marrakesh. In Tanger they get into even worse living conditions than in a slum.
Although the European Union pays millions of euro to stop the immigration stream, the number of those who want to get to Europe is rapidly increasing. Although the European Union pays millions of euro to stop the immigration stream, the number of those who want to get to Europe is rapidly increasing.
The parking place in front of Tanger's port for trucks heading to Europe attracts the immigrants' attention. The parking place in front of Tanger's port for trucks heading to Europe attracts the immigrants' attention.
The Strait of Gibraltar, the door to Europe for all African immigrants. The Strait of Gibraltar, the door to Europe for all African immigrants.

Harraga

Tanger, Morocco – January - June 2007

Every day tens of Moroccan young man try to cross ilegally the Strait of Gibraltar. “Harraga” (immigrants in Arabic) come to Tanger from all over Morocco. They try their good luck and hidden between the wheels of a truck they attempt to board on a ferry and get to Spain, eventually further to Europe.

Each of Harraga has his own trick and hope that he will be the one who will manage to escape one day. They observe the traffic of the trucks, they know when the checking shifts switch, they know when and how and what is embarked, they watch the weather changes, rain, fog and know about its impact on the port traffic. They look for a chink to slip away through. Some of Harraga swim in the dark morning hours with a rope ladder and a hook up to boats and try to get on board by this risky way.

Considering the thorough checks at the port only few of them make it. As soon as the omnipresent patrolling police notices a bigger number of young men, they immediately ask for documents. Most of Harraga are from different regions, therefore they might get arrested and deported only because of anunpermitted stay in Tanger. Sometimes the police release them for a bribe of few euros, sometimes they beat them cruelly, sometimes they arrest them and turn them over to the court.

Harraga themselves say that on every ten caught men there is one who gets away succesfully. After that his friends write his fake name in paint on the wall of the port (Harraga use fake names among themselves so as to confuse the police).

Every one of them claims that because of a bad economic situation of Morocco they cannot afford to have and mantain a family, which is the reason for their escape. On the contrary ordinary Maroccans, for whom Harraga often are a source of contempt, say that Harraga do not want to work, that they only long for European abundance and money without work.

Harraga spend months living on a beach, in huts along the walls of the port, some of them beg for food, those who had succeded once, had been to Europe and thanks to that speak Spanish, sell hashish to foreigners. All of them hang around waiting for the right night so as their dream about Europe came true.

Photography by Jan Sochor
Music by Asian Dub Foundation – “Fortress Europe”, Enemy of the Enemy (2003)