Nicky Woo

Documentary Photographer
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Nationality: American
Biography: Nicky Quamina-Woo is a Black + Polynesian visual researcher and documentarian, who divides her time between the African continent and Southeast Asia. Her fascination with the tenacity of the human spirit deeply influences her approach to image... MORE
Public Story
Heroin Port
Copyright Nicky Woo 2022
Date of Work Dec 2022 - Ongoing
Updated Nov 2018
Topics Addiction, Addiction in Islam, Heroin, Tanzania, Zanzibar
The beautiful resort island of Zanzibar has a drug problem. Since the 1980’s, it’s been a landing port for heroin being shipped
from Afghanistan to Africa, but as of late -possibly due to the rising volatility of the overland paths to Europe- there’s been an increased
surge via the Indian Ocean route.

Since Zanzibar’s coastline is porous, its isolated inlets and remote beaches make for ideal landing places for traffickers using the island as a transit
point. Consequently, the dirt cheap narcotics have leaked into the local population, though more than 40% of it’s citizens live well below
the poverty line.

With no education on drug addiction, users here speak of trying the narcotic for the first time- assuming that the high would be similar to
that of smoking marijuana- often to disastrous results. These images follow the struggle of heroin users as they secret themselves away during
the holy month of Ramadan, in alleyways and behind shuttered doors in an effort to not bring further shame upon their families on this
conservative Muslim island.

 Heroin Port
Heroin addiction on the island of Zanzibar
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