Sex Trafficking: Portraits of Slavery
- Visual Arts
27 million - people that are currently enslaved around the world
$32 billion - the amount of money made by human trafficking worldwide
$28 billion - human traficking profits made though sex trafficking worldwide
12 - the average age of sex-trafficking victims
There are now more slaves in the world than ever before in the history of mankind. Slavery is something that's existed for thousands of years. It's ingrained in cultures, families, businesses, countries, and cities throughout every single part of the world. It's walking along streets right outside our doors, smiling at us through windows, or sitting silently next to us at a traffic light. The debate is already over to whether slavery still exists - the numbers are in and what we've found is absolutely staggering.
We are now launching a portrait project to photograph people who are currently enslaved or have been enslaved around the world. Our goal is to begin to expose the issue of modern-day slavery and play a role in bringing it to an end. We believe that the best way to tell the world that something needs to be done is to not actually tell them at all, but rather to show them that these are real people, just like you and me. This project will be our first big push into a much larger project that will eventually span the globe and begin building a body of work that encompasses all the different variations of slavery. We are starting with sex slavery, which is by far the most lucrative form.
We have partnered with Love 146, a child sex trafficking prevention and rehabilitation organization, that has set its goal to see the end of child sex trafficking worldwide. They have recently increased efforts to expand their success in Southeast Asia into Europe, specifically in Southern and Eastern Europe. We will be going to Athens, Greece for the month of July 2013.We will be telling the powerful stories of victims and their escape from sex trafficking using imagery that Love 146 will be able to use to help launch their European branding, marketing and fundraising efforts.
"Love146 is delighted that Jeremiah and Meredith are looking to join them in their counter-trafficking work in Europe. It is an important time for Love146 to be able to tell the story of child exploitation in a a European setting. The ability to tell the story of child slavery through images which value the integrity of the child is vital. This is a challenge where we believe Jeremiah and Meredith can bring a unique set of skills and a creative eye to bear." - Gaz Kishere, Operations Director Europe
Athens is one of the largest human trafficking destinations in the world because it is literally at the crossroads of 3 continents - Europe to the North, Asia to the East and Africa in the South. It has been estimated that 400-600 women are trafficked across the borders into Greece every single day. They will eventually be forced to be in one of Greece's 25,000 brothels or they'll be trafficked into another country.
The women and men who are most at risk live in poverty in countries surrounding Greece, typically Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova.These people do not choose this lifestyle, but instead they are coerced into it by promises of better jobs, better pay and being able to send money back home. Instead, they are tricked to come along with the traffickers until they reach a brothel were they are often beaten and raped until they succumb to the demands of the traffickers - which is almost always some form of prostitution.
After our return from Greece, we will have a Opening Night at Anthem Church in Gainesville, FL where we will be discussing modern-day slavery, showing our work, and sharing our stories from the field. Please take a look at the perks at the right side of the page for information on reserving your seat.
Jeremiah Stanley is a commercial & editorial freelance photographer who makes a living telling deep, powerful stories using imagery. You can view his work at JeremiahStanley.com. He and his wife, Meredith Stanley, also run a wedding photography company out of Florida. You can view their work at ChicShotStudio.com. Their trusted assistant Sierra Clemons has graciously agreed to come along and lend a hand.
Our goal of $15,000 is a bare-bones budget for this trip and portion of the project. If we can exceed this goal then we will be able to use the funds to go further and deeper with this trip. For example, we would be able to fly to Moldova and Romania where we would visit at risk communities that Love146 works with. Additionally, we will be able to purchase gear that will help us to tell these stories in a more impactful way.
Please consider donating to this project to help us expose modern-day slavery. Another awesome way to help is to repost this video.
Thank you SO much for your support!
Jeremiah, Meredith and Sierra
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who spent his life creating 36 works educating people about the moral responsibility of all people to fight hatred, racism and genocide, once said, "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant."