The first victims of migration are children. In Eastern Europe half of those who emigrate are women who, in most cases, leave their children at home, entrusting them, at best, to grandparents, or to elderly neighbors, or at worst, and too often, just abandoning them to fend for themselves.
A prime example is Moldova, which, by some current estimates, has lost about 7 hundred thousand migrants, though other astonishing estimates have put the figure at over 1 million, almost a quarter of the total population. In economic terms, migrant remittance, or sending money home, helps to strengthen the financial inflow of a developing country, but it also increases the number of social orphans, children who might count themselves lucky to see their parents but once a year.
The plight of these children is difficult to imagine. Many will never overcome the psychological trauma caused by separation from their parents. Numerous cases of suicide do nothing but highlight how serious the situation is.
According to the Information and Documentation Center on Child Rights in Moldova, the number of children without parental care is growing steadily. In 2006, there were 94,000 children who had at least one emigrant parent, while in 2009, the number had reached 135,000.
Left Behind project intends to document and give voice to the suffering of these children. By long trips across different regions of Moldova, I will continue my photographic work to tell of the daily lives of both the children left behind and the parents who have emigrated abroad, mainly to Italy.