Photographing the sex trade: Dana Popa at the Frontline Club on Friday

May 10, 2010

Romanian photographer Dana Popa will be giving an In the Picture talk at the Frontline Club on Friday about her project not Natasha.

not Natasha documents the lives of Moldovan women who have been trafficked out of their country and forced to work in the sex trade abroad. Their destinations sound exotic and varied, including, according to Popa: Turkey, Russia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Albania, Italy, Spain, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Great Britain, but the plight of women in all these places is the same.

Beaten, drugged and threatened into letting strangers have sex with them, the traffickers reap the financial rewards of the trafficked women’s dangerous work. They are left psychologically damaged and, in most cases, suffering from STDs. Popa’s photographs encapsulate the despair of these women and their loved ones who have been left behind.

Popa worked in collaboration with two charities, IOM Moldova and Winrock International, to produce a body of work which is both beautiful and shocking. Her pictures use vivid colours to bring their stories to life, while deftly handling the sensitive subject with a profound subtlety.

The next issue of Frontline a Broadsheet will feature a photo-essay by Popa. In it she declares:

Slavery is not a ‘thing of the past’. It is a very real problem which can no longer be ignored. With Romania having joined the European Union, borders to Western Europe are easier to cross. Human cattle is still sold on Europe’s Black Market.

Read more about the event and book here for Friday’s In the Picture. In the mean time here is a taster of some of Dana Popa’s images:

Created with flickr slideshow.