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Talitha Koumi: We put a face on victims

They live more than 13,000 km from Canada and they really exist! The motto of Talitha Koumi is to save the victims of sex trafficking one image at a time, so this article wants to introduce some of the victims we met during our photo report.

They live more than 13,000 km from Canada and they really exist! The motto of Talitha Koumi is to save the victims of sex trafficking one image at a time, so this article wants to introduce some of the victims we met during our photo report.

 

Anis

This young mother of about 30 years old no longer works as a sex worker. Nevertheless, her years in brothels left her with HIV.

At the time, there was no systematic screening. This young woman has therefore contaminated her children and her husband.

She is on tritherapy, she and her husband and children.

What brings a young woman into prostitution? For all the victims we interviewed, the answer is the same: extreme poverty and no other solution on the horizon.

In Indonesia, there is no social safety net like here in Canada. When someone does not work, he has no money to dress or eat. Prostitution thus unfortunately becomes the only means of survival available to families in Indramayu district.

In the center of the picture, surrounded by the extended family that depends on her, we find Devi.

She began to be exploited at the age of 11. At the time of the interview, she had just had a miscarriage at 7 months of pregnancy, alone at home.

Thanks to Talitha Koumi, among others, Devi can now consider starting a small business at home so as not to return to prostitution.

The social, cultural and family pressure is what firmly holds these young women under the yoke of the pimps. In Indonesia, there is no need for violence to keep women in the slavery of sex trafficking. The pressure of the family that depends entirely on the salary of the young victim is amply sufficient for them to continue selling heir body t against their will.

To conclude, here is Dewi, a 17-year-old mother who could not bring herself to have an abortion. Threatened by the traffickers to whom she owes money, she could not now stay in the village with her family to take care of her boy.

Talitha Koumi is currently working with a local NGO to facilitate Dewi’s return to the village so that she can look after her boy and also return to school.

Until now, Dewi and Devi had no hope of getting out of this world of darkness, but thanks to the work of the Talitha Koumi Foundation and its donors, Devi and Dewi can now dream of a better future far from prostitution.

 

Daniel Jean

Photojournalist and CEO of Talitha Koumi 16th of June 2019

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