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ptrougeMayotte undocumented

Mayotte (France) / Anjouan (Comoro islands)


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Vincent Nguyen




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It's a secret life, but it's still a life. Which sums up the day-to-day existence of the 60,000 illegal immigrants living on Mayotte, a small French territory located in the Comoro archipelago in the south of the Indian Ocean. Most come from the neighboring Comoro Islands, and make up a third of Mayotte?s population, providing cheap labor in the mainly informal economy. Many come from Anjouan Island, the nearest coastline of which is only a 70 km sea crossing away. In Anjouan, the State is in decay, salaries go unpaid, electricity is lacking and work almost non-existent. The Island lives precariously with a trickle of money from its diaspora population, which includes the illegal workers on Mayotte. On French Mayotte, though, there are arrests every day. The government sends 16,000 migrants back each year (2007 stats). And yet lives manage to take root in a mix of rebellion and fatality born from the injustice and misery of their vulnerable, clandestine existence.