The numbers of unaccompanied minors in Ceuta recently exploded : from 802 youths in 2017 to 3.344 (3.302 boys and 42 girls) in 2018 : It increased by 316%.

No Way Back

Sadak Souici

 2019 — Ceuta, Spain

About this series

“No Way Back” tells the story of a young migrant in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, in northern Morocco. Sadak Souici meets unaccompanied minors who try to cross the Strait of Gibraltar each night to reach the European continent. During the day, nearly 300 young people from Morocco, Algeria and sub-Saharan Africa wander the streets of Ceuta in search of a few euros. They often sleep under the rocks of the seawall.

Families are watching the hills of Ceuta disappear, and maybe Ibrahim, Hussein and Juseph are watching them too. © Sadak Souici
There is so much boredom, it's always nice to run into Reduan, very recognisable with his crutches. The human right activist is distributing sandwiches and talks about his association Digmun, for Dignidad por los Mujeres, Niños y Niñas. © Sadak Souici
Mohamed, Reduan's friend, can't stay here anymore. It's too hard to handle. He is crying in the muslim cemetery. © Sadak Souci
Juseph is not running on the cement dam or on the rocks, he is flying. He is a runner and his t-shirt proves it: he ran Ceuta's marathon. Forty-two kilometers with no prize or medals at the end. Joseph never sees again the friends who leave to cross the Mediterannean sea. © Sadak Souici
Several "dwellings" have a movie poster hanging on the wall, like a gateway to a better future, far from "this shitty exhausting everyday life". For some time now, the migrants have been harassed by a racist, drunk and violent gang. In the middle of the night, they come to throw stones and insult them. © Sadak Souici
In the Muslim cemetery, if you look behind the graves, all the dead seem to be the same. A number indicates the place of burial. The front side marks the bodies that have been identified. For the migrants who die in the Strait of Gibraltar, rare are those for whom one manages to put a name. "3948" stands for an Algerian man. His body was torn to pieces with the violence of water, salt and fish. © Sadak Souici
Silent marches are organized every month in memory of the missing. It seems that three minors are living behind the cemetery, says Reduan in the car. In front of him, a police car drives slowly. © Sadak Souici
There are many adults alongside the children, like 26-year-old Hussein. But in exile, words are no longer enough to reassure, to comfort. The family is far away, and each attempt to reach the peninsula is a wound that opens and never closes. "During times like these, I have a mind made of steel. I can take it all. Only death frightens me. The rest, the violence, the tears, the pressure from the police, we are used to it, ”he says, stretching the sleeve of his red T-shirt over an old scar. © Sadak Souici

Photographer: Sadak Souici
Nationality: French
Based in: Paris, France
Instagram: @sadaksouici

Sadak Souici was born in Paris in the 1980s. Photojournalist since 2008, he works as a freelance photographer and is represented by the agency Le Pictorium since 2015. His work is divided between news reports and long term documentaries about conflict areas, social life, environmental issues and politics. He regularly publishes in France and abroad: Le Monde, La Croix, Le Parisien, Mediapart, Liberation, The Guardian, Daily Mirror, Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, Russia Reporter, la, Vice, the New York Times and RTS for video reports.
After two years spent in Ukraine documenting the lives of civilian populations on the front line between Ukraine and the Donbass, his photographic work is exhibited by the NGO Premiere Urgence Internationale. This year-long collaboration has been the subject of several exhibitions in Paris (Mairie du Xème, La Bellevilloise) and in Kiev, Ukraine in 2019. More recently, he spent time in Algeria covering the peaceful demonstrations against the Algiers regime. The daily newspaper Liberation chose one of its photographs for its cover of March 29, 2019. He regularly collaborates with the magazine Hesa Mag, devoted to health and safety at work who commissioned stories on prison work, harassment at work, coal mines in Europe and a story on the European Frontex Agency. Mediapart published three of these reports in 2019.