FiftyCrows Blog

Social Change Photography

Mimi Chakarova: The Price of Sex

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chakarovascreenFor over six years, investigative reporter and photographer Mimi Chakarova has carried out painstaking, often dangerous, on-the-ground reporting into all aspects of the sex trafficking trade from Eastern Europe, including investigations into the countries of origin, the process of transit, and the initial allure and stark realities these women face in the receiving countries. She has slowly built trust and developed relationships with young women in Eastern Europe who have been trafficked abroad. Over the years she has traveled through Eastern Europe, Southern Europe/Mediterranean regions and the Middle East for this project. Her work has won a 2008 Emmy Nomination and a 2008 Webby Award, and has appeared on PBS Frontline/World and CBS 60 Minutes. This long-term project was also awarded the Inge Morath Magnum Photo Grant for outstanding documentary work.

BACKGROUND

After the fall of the Soviet Union, millions of young women in Eastern Europe came of age amid economic misery. Their childhood fantasies of a better life in the West became a human trafficker’s golden opportunity. Through agents and brokers who arrange the travel and job placements, young women are escorted to their destinations and delivered to their employers. Upon reaching the foreign land, some women learn that they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do. Most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment, and most find themselves in coercive and abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous.

Currently the main destinations for sex trafficking of Eastern European women are Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Most women are proposed work as seasonal and factory workers, waitresses, domestic servants and au pairs. After arriving in the country of destination, their passports, documents, money, and personal belongings are taken away. They become today’s sex slaves, sold and resold like cattle. Those who manage to escape their traffickers are deported. Back home, they rarely tell their loved ones the truth. The stigmatization of prostitution is every family’s deepest shame.

For more stories, videos, and images go to: http://priceofsex.org

On the website there are two very important links which provide information on ways to help:

HOW TO HELP –  http://priceofsex.org/content/how-help

LINKS & RESOURCES – http://priceofsex.org/content/links-and-resources

http://www.mclight.com/

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Written by Zara Katz

June 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

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