In Case of Loss

In Case of Loss | Francesco Giusti ( Libya 2011)

The civil war in Libya aside from bringing hopes for a brighter future for many a Libyan brought with it the displacement of droves of migratory workers. Prior to February 2011, approximately 70,000 Bangladeshi nationals resided in this North African nation employed by Chinese, South Korean, European and Libyan corporations. These workers left their homeland, often times incurring great debt to finance their overseas relocation with the hopes of earning higher incomes in Libya.

This past Spring, like other civilians and residents of Libya they found themselves caught in the cross fire as civil unrest and war erupted. For these workers, a better paid job meant in some instances a monthly wage of a mere $150. As the civil conflict intensified despite the imminent perils that lay before, many escaped making the harrowing journey to arrive in overcrowded and under supplied refugee camps in bordering nations, Tunisia and Egypt. 

As of this past August, with the aid of the Bangladeshi government and the World Bank, 35,000 migrant workers are said to have returned safely to Bangladesh. Despite leaving with grand dreams to improve their socio-economic conditions, these migratory workers mostly male, returned with all their worldly possessions tethered to a sole bag with the owner’s portrait attached. The hope, that this photographic image might somehow secure the unlikely return in case of loss. The twisted irony more present with the “catchy” brand names and upbeat marketing phrases associated with holidays and tourism juxtaposing the portraits with phrases such as “tourister” , “high take – by choice” and “beyond your imagination.”  Beyond one’s imagination is certainly right…

In Case of Loss is a photo essay by Francesco Giusti produced in collaboration with Italian photo agency Prospekt.


Francesco Giusti (b. 1969, Italy) is a freelance documentary photographer based in Milan. His work deals with the investigation of social realities, communities and identity-related issues and projects have taken him around the globe. His portrait story Sapologie, of the SAPE (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes) from Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo recieved the 2nd Place Prize for Arts and Entertainment Stories at the 2009 World Press Photo Awards.


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