Image of crying toddler on US border wins World Press Photo award

John Moore's photo showing a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying as her mother is searched and detained.
John Moore's photo showing a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying as her mother is searched and detained.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

AMSTERDAM (AFP) - The haunting image of a little girl crying helplessly as she and her mother are taken into custody by US border officials on Thursday (April 11) won the prestigious World Press Photo Award.

Judges said veteran Getty photographer John Moore's picture taken after Honduran mother Sandra Sanchez and her daughter Yanela illegally crossed the United States-Mexico border last year showed "a different kind of violence that is psychological".

The picture of the wailing toddler was published worldwide and caused a public outcry about Washington's controversial policy to separate thousands of migrants from their children.

US Customs and Border Protection officials later said Yanela and her mum were not among those separated, but the public furore "resulted in President Donald Trump reversing the policy in June last year", the judges said.

Mr Moore was taking pictures of US Border Patrol agents on a moonless night in the Rio Grande Valley on June 12 last year when they came across a group of people who tried to cross the border.

"I could see the fear on their faces, in their eyes," he told the US-based National Public Radio broadcaster in an interview shortly afterwards.

As officials took their names, Mr Moore said he spotted Ms Sanchez and her toddler, who started wailing when her mum put her down to be searched.

"I took a knee and had very few frames of that moment before it was over," said Mr Moore, who had been covering the US-Mexico border for a decade.

PHOTOS OF MIGRANT CARAVAN

The sensitive issue of immigration was further highlighted at Thursday's awards.

Judges chose Dutch-Swedish photographer Pieter Ten Hoopen's images of the 2018 mass-migrant caravan to the US border as its winner in the "World Press Photo Story of the Year Award".

Mr Ten Hoopen's pictures, which show families and children as they make their way from Honduras in mid-October to the US border "showed a high sense of dignity", one of the judges said.

‘The Migrant Caravan’ by Pieter Ten Hoopen (@pietertenhoopen), Agence Vu/Civilian Act. One of three World Press Photo Story of the Year Nominees. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ During October & November 2018, thousands of Central American migrants joined a caravan heading to the US border. The caravan, assembled through a grassroots social media campaign, left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 12 October 2018, & as word spread drew people from Nicaragua, El Salvador & Guatemala. They were a mix of those facing political repression & violence, & those fleeing harsh economic conditions in the hope of a better life. Traveling in a caravan offered a degree of safety on a route where migrants have previously disappeared or been kidnapped, & was an alternative to paying high rates to people smugglers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. People run to a truck that has stopped to give them a ride, outside Tapanatepec, Mexico, on 30 October 2018. Some drivers charged to give travelers a lift for part of the way, but most offered services free as a sign of support. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Families bathe, wash clothes and relax beside the Rio Novillero, when the caravan takes a rest day near Tapanatepec. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. A father and son sleep after a long day’s walking, Juchitán, 30 October 2018. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. A girl pick flowers during the day’s walk from Tapanatepec to Niltepec, a distance of 50 km. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The 2019 Photo Contest & 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest Nominees have been announced! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This includes, for the first time, nominees for our three new major new awards, ‘Story of the Year’, & for the Digital Storytelling Contest, the ‘Interactive of the Year’ & the ‘Online Video of the Year'. We’re sharing the nominated photos in alphabetical order, by category. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Discover the stories that matter, chosen by an independent jury of photography and digital storytelling professionals by following the link in our bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #WPPh2019 #worldpressphoto
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‘The Migrant Caravan’ by Pieter Ten Hoopen (@pietertenhoopen), Agence Vu/Civilian Act. One of three World Press Photo Story of the Year Nominees. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ During October & November 2018, thousands of Central American migrants joined a caravan heading to the US border. The caravan, assembled through a grassroots social media campaign, left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 12 October 2018, & as word spread drew people from Nicaragua, El Salvador & Guatemala. They were a mix of those facing political repression & violence, & those fleeing harsh economic conditions in the hope of a better life. Traveling in a caravan offered a degree of safety on a route where migrants have previously disappeared or been kidnapped, & was an alternative to paying high rates to people smugglers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. People run to a truck that has stopped to give them a ride, outside Tapanatepec, Mexico, on 30 October 2018. Some drivers charged to give travelers a lift for part of the way, but most offered services free as a sign of support. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Families bathe, wash clothes and relax beside the Rio Novillero, when the caravan takes a rest day near Tapanatepec. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. A father and son sleep after a long day’s walking, Juchitán, 30 October 2018. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. A girl pick flowers during the day’s walk from Tapanatepec to Niltepec, a distance of 50 km. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The 2019 Photo Contest & 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest Nominees have been announced! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This includes, for the first time, nominees for our three new major new awards, ‘Story of the Year’, & for the Digital Storytelling Contest, the ‘Interactive of the Year’ & the ‘Online Video of the Year'. We’re sharing the nominated photos in alphabetical order, by category. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Discover the stories that matter, chosen by an independent jury of photography and digital storytelling professionals by following the link in our bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #WPPh2019 #worldpressphoto

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Mr Trump said on Tuesday he won't resume separating children of undocumented migrants, but insisted that the policy did prevent people from illegal border crossings like a trip to "Disneyland".

His words came after he announced the departure on Sunday of the official in charge of fighting illegal immigration - Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

According to US media reports, Mr Trump's reshuffle could herald even harsher measures on the southern border.

Judges selected this year's winners from 78,801 images entered by 4,738 photographers worldwide, the Amsterdam-based organisers said.

Three lensmen from AFP - Mr John Wessels, Mr Brendan Smialowski and Mr Pedro Pardo - were handed one second place and three third places overall in the various categories.