I am honored finally to share this work with you. My project partner Patricia Chabvepi (Romanian-born human rights activist) and I warmly invite you to the New York photo exhibition opening of AWHERENESS, a collaborative work with survivors of trafficking in Romania and Moldova, this Thursday, April 25th, 7pm @ All Things Project Space on 269 Bleecker St.
Romania and Moldova are beautiful countries with an ugly problem. Every year, thousands of women, men and children are trafficked outside and within the borders for sex and forced labor.
We met many survivors of human trafficking who share similar histories. In most cases, children and young adults turn to the streets to escape harsh conditions at overrun orphanages or domestic abuse at home. Survivors are often exploited by those closest to them, such as a family member, partner, or lover. Psychological manipulation, coercion, and physical violence form the basis for a majority of these stories.
Human trafficking is rooted in various systems of oppression. Hearing these stories, it is impossible to understand and address human trafficking without addressing broader socio-economic realities, gender inequality, domestic violence, corruption, racism, and poverty.
Trafficking in Romania has swelled since 1989, with the end of communism. Upon joining the European Union in 2007, Romania relaxed its border patrol measures, which exacerbated the problem. The situation is even more critical in Moldova due to the rise of orphanages amidst a declining economy and lack of employment opportunities in the country.
Awhereness is a collaboration with trafficked survivors to trace their stories and expose the places that enable trafficking. Trafficking is pervasive, making it hard to detect. It takes on many different forms, often in the most mundane places: at home, parks, transportation hubs, and beyond.