World Press Photo 2022

North and Central America - Stories

The stories of migrants working in the United States meatpacking industry shed light on the lives many migrants lead once they reach their destination. Nationally, immigrants make up 37 per cent of the meat industry labour force. During the Covid-19 pandemic, meatpacking plants remained open as they were considered critical infrastructure. The coronavirus spread quickly in an industry where workers operated in close proximity to each other. A study by the US-based Environmental Working Group found that counties with or near meatpacking industries reported twice the national average rate of Covid-19 infection.

Mr Jose sitting in his room with his sister Sara, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, US, on Sept 6, 2020. Mr Jose worked in a meatpacking plant until he contracted Covid-19 in April 2020. He was in the hospital on a ventilator for five months, and still uses an oxygen cylinder. Ms Sara also worked at the factory, but left to become a house cleaner. She took care of her brother during his illness. Title: The People Who Feed the United States © Ismail Ferdous, Agence VU’
Ms Aye Sway, a member of the Karen ethnic group who has experienced persecution from the Myanmar government, is pictured at home in Omaha, Nebraska, US, on March 2, 2021. She lived in a refugee camp in Thailand before moving to the US in 2018. At the time of the Covid-19 outbreak, she was working in a chicken processing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, but said she was scared to go to work because so many of her friends became severely ill. Title: The People Who Feed the United States © Ismail Ferdous, Agence VU’
Ms Sandra Sibert sitting with her husband James in the room where she had to stay in isolation with Covid-19, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, US, on Sept 7, 2020. The couple met while working at a meatpacking plant. Ms Sandra has worked at the plant for 15 years. She fell ill on April 7, 2020, and was sick for three weeks. Title: The People Who Feed the United States © Ismail Ferdous, Agence VU’
Mr Amjad Farman arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska, US, from a refugee camp in Turkey, where he had fled because the extremist group ISIS were persecuting Yazidi people in Iraq. He works in a chicken processing plant in Lincoln, on March 6, 2021. Title: The People Who Feed the United States © Ismail Ferdous, Agence VU’

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