Friday, August 7, 2009

Eastern Europe:, Women Speak Out in Multimedia Projects

Photographer Mimi Chakarova spent seven years delving into the world of sex trafficking in Eastern Europe, even going undercover to document the situation. The result is an intimate multimedia portrait of these women's lives.

EASTERN EUROPE - Jenea saw 50 customers a day the year she worked in Turkey.

She wasn't a bank teller or a hairdresser.

Jenea was one of the estimated 1.39 million people trafficked each year into the sex trade industry, according to the Geneva-based International Labor Organization.

She is also one of the subjects of an intimate multimedia portrait series by photojournalist Mimi Chakarova called "The Price of Sex: Women Speak."

For the seven-year-long investigative series, Chakarova delved deep into the murky world of sex trafficking, interviewing dozens of women--and even posing as a trafficked woman herself. The result is a handful of profiles, narrated through photography, video and audio, which paint a picture of what these women must endure.

Chakarova, in conjunction with the Center for Investigative Reporting, based in Berkeley, Calif., brought these stories to the public in May of this year. They launched, a Web site that unites these women's stories with resources on the issue, allowing people to take action, donate or learn more.

Over the course of the project, Chakarova estimates that she spoke with up to 50 women from Eastern Europe who had been trafficked. At times, her subjects were so traumatized that she could not bring herself to continue interviewing...



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