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Exhibition: Photographs & Stories by Annie Ling
January 10, 2014 - January 31, 2014
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) is pleased to present a selection of images and stories from photographer Annie Ling‘s project AWHERENESS on human trafficking in Romania and Moldova. The exhibition has been arranged to coincide with a free Human Trafficking Awareness Day Program taking place on January 11, 2014 at CRS from 4 – 9 pm featuring two film screenings and a panel discussion. The photographs will remain on view from Jan 11 – 31, 2014.
Please take this opportunity and direct your attention to SocialDocumentary.net, which highlights work by photographers around the world shedding light on the tragedy of trafficking.
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.
In many cases, children and young adults turn to the streets to escape harsh conditions at overrun orphanages or domestic abuse at home. Those affected by trafficking are often exploited by the ones closest to them: a family member, a partner, a 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.
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, cafes, and beyond.
AWHERENESS the project grew out of conversations and focused research between close friend and collaborator Patricia Chabvepi, a Romanian human rights activist and myself nearly two years ago.
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, making free flow of both goods and people easier across borders. However, as the country’s economy is also improving, internal trafficking is also gaining traction. The situation is even more critical in Moldova due to the rise of orphanages amidst a struggling economy and lack of employment opportunities in the country. Most people in Moldova want to live and work abroad, which makes the trafficking of human beings a perversely easy endeavor. Moldova is the poorest nation of Europe, with a large percentage of its children growing up in state institutions, not necessarily because they are orphans, but because their parents do not have the means to raise them.
My first exposure to the problem of human trafficking was through a number of awareness raising campaigns, seminars, reports and articles. Being from Romania, Patricia had been aware for years of Romanian young women being tricked into prostitution abroad, but only vaguely considered what this really meant and what exactly drove them to these jobs abroad as “waitresses” and “dancers.” During a volunteer opportunity with a New York-based organization that works with victims of domestic abuse, Patricia confronted the reality that domestic abuse and trafficking often go hand in hand.
Human trafficking is a cunning beast that takes on various and evolving forms as result of underlying systems of oppression. Hearing these stories, it is impossible to understand and address human trafficking without addressing the broader socio-economic realities, gender inequality, domestic violence, racism, and poverty.
Trafficking today has a much more ambiguous and deceptive appearance, thus making it harder to expose. What happens now is often done under the cover of legality, with proper paperwork and even some portion of consent. This makes law enforcement particularly difficult, as does corruption.
Trafficking stories are personal. My hope is that these images would invite the viewer to contemplate more deeply the problem of human trafficking and to gain an “awhereness” of the context in which trafficking is born and bred through the personal stories of survivors.
About Annie Ling
Born in Taipei, Annie is a Canadian artist and documentary photographer currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
Select clients include The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, GEO Magazine (Germany), Courrier International (France), FADER Magazine, and New York Magazine.
Her photography has been featured in publications such as PDN Photo Annual, American Photography 27, Magenta Flash Forward: Emerging Photographers, Monthly Photography, and The Forward, among others.
Her work is exhibited and collected internationally. Most recently, her work has been exhibited in Germany (Lumix Photo Festival), South Korea (Gwanju Biennale), Finland (NYPH Awards), Hungary (Budapest Photo Festival), Canada (Magenta Flash Forward), and throughout the USA in Maine, Boston, and currently in New York City (“A Floating Population” at MOCA).
Annie is currently a fellow of Reflexions Masterclass, a laboratory investigating the evolution of the language of visual representation and photography. She is also a recipient of a Director’s Fellowship from The International Center of Photography.
AWARDS & NOMINATIONS:
New York Photo Festival Award, Honorary Mention, USA
Magenta Flash Forward Winner, Canada/International
American Photography 27, Selected, USA/International
PDN Photo Annual Winner, USA/International
PDN 30 Nominee, USA/International
World Press Joop Swart Masterclass Nominee, Amsterdam
Reflexions Masterclass Nominee/Runner-Up, Italy/Europe
ICP Director’s Fellowship, USA/International
For documentary projects, please go to:
Facebook Artist Page (news feed):
Follow on Twitter @lingphoto
Annie is available for travel and assignments.
Please contact for details and quotes.