Friday, February 20, 2009

Bought and Sold: The Faces of Modern Slavery

If you have a chance (or a class in Robertson), make sure you check out Bought and Sold: The Faces of Modern Slavery, a photography exhibition in the Bernstein Gallery. The photos, by Kay Chernush, are really wrenching, but very important.

Images includes exploited women in brothels, bonded child laborers in textile and brick factories, enslaved children on fishing vessels, as well as images of parents in search of their stolen children from Europe, Africa and India. Other images depict abused women who have begun to rebuild their lives with the help of non-governmental organizations, and victimized children attending special schools where they receive counseling and education.

In particular, take a moment to look at the photo of a Nepalese mother holding up a snapshot of her daughter. To paraphrase the horrifying caption, "A mother searches for her daughter who was abducted at 15 and taken to work in a Mumbai brothel. Five years later, the girl has not been heard from." Despite the intensely human face that Chernush gives to sex slavery, this woman's story is not an unusual one: this happens every day, to women all over the world. To find out more about how to stop it, visit Soroptimist.

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