Reuters photographer Cathal McNaughton spent time at an asylum center on the outskirts of Stockholm, where he took portraits of people he met and asked them where they had fled, why they left, and how they had reached Sweden. He photographed the migrants hiding their faces, partly to protect their identity because of safety concerns, and partly to focus the viewer’s attention on their stories, rather than their looks. Some 15 percent of Sweden’s population is foreign born, the highest level in the Nordic region. Asylum seekers in particular are drawn by Sweden’s robust economy and tradition of helping refugees. The country ranks fourth in the number of asylum seekers and second relative to its population out of 44 industrialised nations, according to U.N. figures.

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