The last two years I have been exploring the world of the Sex industry through my lens. The reason, which made me launch this study, was the immediate increase of porn films in Greece in 2009 at the beginning of the financial crisis. My curiosity to understand this phenomenon, led me to explore the world of the sex industry and take it even further by entering the world of prostitution.
Prostitution in Greece is only legal in licensed brothels, where sex workers are required to get regular health checks. Most of the 15,000 prostitutes in Greece work illegally and have caused a sharp rise of Sexually transmitted diseases.
Many people are involved in the sex industry, some by choice but others by force. Greece continues to be on the primary gateways for illegal immigrants to enter the European Union and is described as a key entry point for people smuggling networks. One report suggests up to 90% of victims trafficked into the European member states will end up in the sex industry.
Having said all this what is the difference between prostitution and trafficking? The primary distinction made between sex trafficking and prostitution in relevant literature is that sex trafficking is involuntary while prostitution is voluntary. However, the reality is very different and not so straightforward.
Greece has thorough and commendable law regarding the issue of human trafficking and prostitution. However the awareness of such legislation by officials (migration officers and prosecutors) and law enforcement is minimal due to the lack of training and education regarding this legislation and provisions. Therefore, often there is no understanding of how to handle a situation but also who may be an actual victim. This, as a general result, can raise a social ignorance upon the issues of prostitution and trafficking.
Furthermore, why have the Sexually transmitted diseases have increased? Is it due to the lack of awareness on this issue?
According to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of Aids in Greece has gone up 60 percent since 2010.
These questions and issues have enforced me to delve in even more today and start a new exploration on the lives of women prostitutes.
Through this project, my aim is to present by photographing and filming the world of prostitution and trafficking in Greece. Raise peoples awareness and point out the health issues that have arisen from the increase of the sexually transmitted diseases.
At the beginning my natural necessity was to enter the world of the sex industry and talk to the women that are involved in it. It has taken me a really long time and effort to reach out to some of these women, to gain their trust and get finally the access today to document their lives. Also my intensive research (I.e. approaching NGO's, doctors and expertise from the ministry of foreign affairs) has helped me to understand more the issues and the difference between prostitution and trafficing.Throughout the year I will be working voluntarily with the "Salvation Army", in Greece, in order to provide support to these women. I will also be teaching photography lessons in one of the new "safe houses" that will be opening in Athens, within the next year.
Your support will enable me not only to continue this project but mostly it will help me gain more insight into the understanding of how and why prostitution is constantly evolving. My deep personal interest in these women, make me want to record their struggle but also their strive in search of a better life. It is also one of my fondest heart's desires, to be able to share with these women my experiences through photography, because I believe photography can be an effective tool of building self-esteem.
The financial support will provide me the time and tools that I need to be able to accomplish and document this very difficult topic. Back this Project