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Roy, Norman Jean

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ISBN 10: 1576874745 / ISBN 13: 9781576874745
Published by Power House Books, Brooklyn, 2008
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Traffik

Publisher: Power House Books, Brooklyn

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

About this title


While on assignment for Glamour’s “Women of the Year” portfolio, photographer Norman Jean Roy was introduced to Somaly Mam, a former Cambodian sex slave who was being honored for her work rescuing women trapped in the sex industry and reintegrating them into society. Overwhelmed by her story and haunted by the faces of the women she’d worked with, Roy decided to spearhead Traffik, a project that would expose and elevate the grave reality and gross injustice of their experiences.

In January 2008, Roy returned to Cambodia to begin the emotionally taxing work of photographing the victims of the country’s notorious sex trade. With the help of Mam and her organization AFESIP, Roy was given access to brothels, where he observed and documented the harrowing lives of adolescent and child prostitutes in situ, as well as AFESIP rehabilitation centers, where he interacted with those whose lives had finally taken a turn for the better, thanks to Mam’s tireless work. Captured in the book are the powerful stories of young women like Srey Ny, who was beaten and raped by her family and sold to a brothel where she was tortured and starved, and Sok Muteta, who was sold by her mother for 10 U.S. dollars and was first raped at the age of four. Both girls were rescued and are now in AFESIP’s care.

Traffik presents images of an industry that doesn’t just sell sex; young women and children are routinely bartered, exchanged, and sold across international borders, resulting in a soulless flow of human traffic. Part exposé and part call to action, Roy’s intimate and affecting photographs are aimed toward giving these victims a voice that will resonate across Cambodia’s borders.

From the Author:

Meeting Somaly for the first time, I am struck by her kind and beautiful face. She is so gentle, so gracious, that I think of Mother Teresa and Gandhi. The girls, filled with excitement, gather around her, holding on to her, sometimes kissing her. As she speaks to them in their native Khmer, they listen quietly, spellbound.

It is clear that she is, literally, their savior. Without her intervention their lives would have been crushed and consumed in greed and cruelty. They trust her because they know that she was once like them. Somaly's early life mirrored theirs, she was repeatedly raped and abused as a child. She too was a "broken woman," the Cambodian expression for a prostitute. Such truth in that expression - since breaking, after all, is what the pimps do to the bodies and minds of these girls. As a teenager Somaly escaped, but only after witnessing the death of another girl in the brothel where she lived. That day, she vowed never to return.

A few months later I am reunited with Somaly. It is the Glamour magazine Women of the Year awards at Carnegie Hall, and Somaly is being honored for her work. Among those being honored is Queen Latifah. Taking the stage, Queen recounts the story I had told her during our photo shoot, shortly after my return from Cambodia. I had described for Queen the rehabilitation centers, the importance of Somaly's work, and how a few hundred thousand dollars could transform the lives of so many girls and young women. Queen pauses, and then stuns us all when she pledges one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to support Somaly's work. A few minutes later our astonishment is doubled when Barbara Walters, onstage to introduce another honoree, matches Queen Latifah's donation. That evening changed me. I knew I had to try to give these girls a voice. So, with my studio, I embarked to do TRAFFIK.

TRAFFIK is not meant to be any one particular story, but rather a collective one. It is a visual slice of the hideous world of human trafficking and the people at the center of it. I hope with this collection of portraits to create a visual document that connects the subject and the viewer on a very human level, the way only a portrait can. From that connection I hope to raise more needed funds to combat the evil of modern slavery. Human trafficking and slavery is not just a Cambodian problem but also a global one. As you will read in Kevin Bales' short essay, there is still much more work to be done, but also hope that slavery can be ended forever.

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