Dana Popa a photo-artist based in London who travelled to the Republic of Moldova and through her photos has document the experiences and the stories of sex-trafficked women and their families. Her book title is ‘Not Natasha’, ‘Natasha’ is the nickname given to Sex trafficked girls with Eastern European looks.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova is one of the main trafficking source countries for women and children. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 women have been sold into prostitution abroad – up to 10% of the female population. In Moldova, Popa worked with the International Organisation for Migration Shelters and Winlock International where she was given access to photograph and document the experiences of 17 women who had been trafficked.
In 2007 Autograph ABP commissioned Popa to return to Moldova where she began to collect the stories of the disappeared and photograph the families, the homes and in some cases the children who have been left behind. Finally, Popa returned to the UK where she documented the spaces where trafficked women are forced into prostitution in the brothels of Soho, London.
Books like this help make the stories real and personal, they give a face to human trafficking, to the victims of the sex industry, people can easily dismiss faceless stories as not real. But when you look at the face of a young girl while reading here story, it becomes real, a real person, who’s life is being destroyed. The are no longer faceless.
Read the full story by Dana Popa, and see more photos from her series at Lens Culture.
This work was commissioned by Autograph ABP, and won the Jerwood Photography Award. It is currently on display in London at Photofusion Gallery through September 18, 2009. You can also buy the book, with more insightful essays about this worldwide problem. You may buy the book “Not Natasha” here.