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Without a Trace


The story of one man’s search for his brother speaks to the pain of hundreds of thousands of missing migrants’ families

Each year, millions of people around the globe are displaced, and while many are able to resettle through official channels, millions more are forced to travel through unofficial, unsanctioned, often dangerous paths. When migrants vanish, whose responsibility is it to find them? In his piece for the February issue, Matthew Wolfe follows Javed Hotak as he searches for his brother Masood, who disappeared while attempting to migrate from Afghanistan to Germany. “The families of these migrants are left to mount searches—alone and with minimal resources—of staggering scope and complexity. They must attempt to defy the entropy of a progressively more disordered world—seeking, against long odds, to sew together what has been ripped apart.”

In this episode, web editor Violet Lucca talks with Wolfe, a journalist and graduate student in sociology at NYU, about the “immense, mostly hidden catastrophe” of missing migrants and the people who can’t forget them.

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