In the following audio interview Dana Popa talks about Not Natasha and her photographic process. It was recorded at Photofusion, London last year while Not Natasha was on show and it’s just under an hour long, so be warned. As it is a large file, the interview should be downloaded.
For any photographer working on a documentary project of any description, especially one dealing with such a sensitive subject where the preservation of anonymity is required, Popa gives insights into her photographic journey, including how she negotiated access, as well as her hopes for the future of the project.
Roll over the link below and click to download.
Dana Popa talks about Not Natasha 09 (58 mins)
ABOUT NOT NATASHA
“This major project began in 2006 when Popa first travelled to the Republic of Moldova to document, through photography and collected stories, the experiences of sex-trafficked women and their families. ‘Natasha’ is the nickname given to prostitutes with Eastern European looks. Sex trafficked girls hate it.
“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova is one of the main trafficking source countries for women and children. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 women have been sold into prostitution abroad – up to 10% of the female population. In Moldova, Popa worked with the International Organisation for Migration Shelters and Winlock International where she was given access to photograph and document the experiences of 17 women who had been trafficked.
In 2007 Autograph ABP commissioned Popa to return to Moldova where she began to collect the stories of the disappeared and photograph the families, the homes and in some cases the children who have been left behind. Finally, Popa returned to the UK where she documented the spaces where trafficked women are forced into prostitution in the brothels of Soho, London.
“Human trafficking is currently estimated to have a market value of over 32 billion US dollars. Forced prostitution of women and children is the most widespread form of human trafficking today. Kevin Bales, the world’s leading expert on contemporary global slavery, recognises that poverty, deprivation, the desire for a better life and the need to escape conflict and oppression are the vital elements that bring people into contact with traffickers. Deception and false promises are important strategies employed by traffickers. Gaining the confidence of the targeted individuals and their families is an essential part of the trafficking process.
“Sex trafficking is a major issue locally and nationally in the UK but also globally and as we move towards the run up to the Olympics in 2012 this issue will only get more pressing as historically trafficking before and during the games can double and with 25, 000 constructions workers on site over the next year prostitution to meet the expected demand is likely to double if not triple. The police believe there will be a huge surge in the numbers of young women trafficked into the boroughs from eastern Europe and Asia by traffickers keen to make money out of the arrival of millions of visitors in 2012.” (From the press release)
Dana Popa is a photo-artist based in London who graduated from the London College of Communication. Popa specialises in contemporary social issues, with a particular emphasis on human rights. In 2007, not Natasha received the Jury Prize in the Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards and the Jerwood Photography Award. Her work has been exhibited widely and includes the Noorderlicht Photofestival in Leeuwarden, at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Tokyo and in the exhibition Moving Walls 14 at the Open Society Institute in New York.