Entry Title: "Cleaning up"
Name: Sebastiano Tomada , United States
Category and Expertise: Photo Essay and Feature Story|General News|War/Conflict|Deeper Perspective, Professional


Entry Description: Just a few months before Rio welcomes visitors for the soccer World Cup, and two years before it hosts the Olympics, the security within the city is still a major issue. So called “pacifications” were supposed to pave the way for development of long-neglected areas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-biggest city and a metropolitan area home to 11 million people, therefore creating The Pacifying Police Unit (Portuguese: Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora), a military police with the intent of reestablishing security and diminishing criminality. Most Favelas are still in the hands of an army of drug dealers and criminals who do not seem to be willing to step down or be “pacified”.

Story: Just a few months before Rio welcomes visitors for the soccer World Cup, and two years before it hosts the Olympics, the security within the city is still a major issue. So called “pacifications” were supposed to pave the way for development of long-neglected areas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-biggest city and a metropolitan area home to 11 million people, therefore creating The Pacifying Police Unit (Portuguese: Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora), a military police with the intent of reestablishing security and diminishing criminality. The UPPs stand at the center of the security strategy of Rio governor Sérgio Cabral Filho. The police set up permanent stations in the favelas in order to be able to patrol the areas on a daily basis and be able to quickly respond to the criminal activity of gangs such as Comando Vermelho and Amigos dos Amigos. There are now approximately 34 UPPs in Rio controlling more than 100 favelas with hundreds of thousands of residents. Most Favelas are still in the hands of an army of drug dealers and criminals who do not seem to be willing to step down or be “pacified”.

About the Artist:

Sebastiano Tomada was born in 1986 in New York City. After growing up in Florence, Italy, he returned to New York to attend Parsons University and the New School, graduating with a double major in media studies and photography in 2009. It was during his time in college that he began to develop a personal style, focusing strongly on documentary and portrait photography. Travelling extensively for publications in both the United States and Europe, Sebastiano’s work focuses on war-torn conflicts in some of the world’s most volatile regions, particularly the Middle East and Asia. His client list include The Sunday Times, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Zeit, The Atlantic and Businessweek. Sebastiano has received several prestigious honors, including a World Press Photo Award and the The 2013 Humanitarian International Red Cross (ICRC) Visa d’or award in Perpignan.