To schedule a presentation and film screening
At the core of this work resides the belief that visual storytelling has the power to change the world. Woman Rising: Surviving Human Trafficking is a multimedia and civic engagement project that strives to educate communities on the atrocity of human trafficking and encourage them to support survivors as they heal and rebuild their lives.
“I want to know who I am and live free.”
When reading the above quote, it sounds more like a human right than a life goal, but for Cary Stuart, survivor of sex and human trafficking, it is just that. Living free is something that presented as a distant dream for her not too long ago, but it is one she achieved and now uses to advocate for the freedom of victims such as herself.
The last five years have seen a staggering rise in the number of people trapped in modern slavery throughout the world. Woman Rising gives this monstrous institution a face through Cary’s brave representation of what it means to be a victim and a survivor. Personalizing human trafficking in this way can influence and educate people in a way that mere data or academic discussion simply cannot. Cary’s vulnerability and bravery, which is so eloquently captured through the visuals of both this film and the accompanying photography will evoke a visceral response in viewers. The time for increased awareness, heightened response, and activism to end the crime that is human trafficking is now, and Woman Rising seeks to spur that activism on.
It is a pervasive and powerful stigma that attaches itself to victims of human trafficking for the purpose of being sold for sex – prostitute, whore – but it could not be further from the brutal truth that enshrouds them. Much of society, including a large portion of law enforcement, look at these people as willing participants, people who actively chose and continue choosing this lifestyle while having access to all the freedoms you and I enjoy and take completely for granted. The truth is, twenty-three-year-old Cary had plans to go to college while she stood outside one evening, plans to live her life and achieve her dreams. When a man named Ramie pulled up in an impressive vehicle and offered to fast track her modeling career, to take her to New York immediately and give her access to a vast world awaiting her, she jumped on the seeming opportunity.
As chronicled in this film, it was while Cary was incarcerated under charges of prostitution that she and Portland Coalition Against Sex Trafficking Co-Founder, Sgt. Farris first crossed paths. Her willingness to open up to him and share the horrifying details of her captivity as a victim of sex and human trafficking, helped the Portland Police Department see her for what she and others like her are in actuality – victims and survivors.
-Write to your local, state, and federal offices. Let them know you care about after-care services for human trafficking survivors and ask what they do to address it.
-Featured in the film are DA Jonathan Sahrbeck, Sergeant Tim Farris (Co-Founder Greater Portland Coalition Against Sex Trafficking & Exploitation), Maine Coalition against Sexual Assault Program Director Jessica Bedard, Safe Voices Director of Shelter and Housing Noelle Coyne and Survivor Leader Cary Stuart.
Forced to Marry
Imagine you’re forced to flee your war-stricken country where armed conflict, economic decline, disease, and hunger are everyday struggles. You find refuge in a settlement along the border of a neighboring country, only to find an entirely new threat: being sold into marriage.
Over 80 percent of those fleeing the war in South Sudan are women and children. Children make up an astounding 63 percent of the total South Sudanese refugee population. Many find refuge just inside the border of Uganda, where they are protected from the war but face challenges such as limited access to food and water, poor sanitation and illness, forced recruitment into sexual slavery or armed groups, and forced marriage.
Forced to Marry explores the complex issue of forced marriage through the stories of four young girls in Uganda’s Imvepi Refugee Settlement. In their own words, they share their experiences and express concern for the lack of basic necessities, their desire to return to school and get an education, and the struggles of being young mothers.
Matilde, your work carries out the mission of photography at its best--to inspire, challenge, and provoke people into taking action for positive change. Thank you for sharing your work and many talents with the global community!
ArtWorks for Freedom
While the Ugandan government has been a relatively welcoming host to 1 million plus refugees (more than any other African country), it is a region facing economic hardship itself, and this inevitably trickles down and disproportionately impacts these already disenfranchised and vulnerable people attempting to build new lives. Such an existence has put many of these young women and girls in the position of being forced into marriage and their increased vulnerability puts them at greater risk of being trafficked – see a short video at the end of the article that follows several of them on such journeys.
Mattie’s words, but more importantly her photos, capture the essence of such an existence with undeniable clarity and strength. Her ability to express the fortitude, perseverance, and simultaneous suffering of these women and children is startling.
March for Children’s Rights Rally
March for Children’s Rights Rally, organized by a non-profit named Keeping Kids Safe. Listening to advocate and survivor of human trafficking Selina Deveau was powerful. District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck also spoke about this serious issue. It’s a big surprise to many that sex trafficking operations capture an estimated 200 to 300 Maine victims every year, said Sahrbeck.
Human trafficking is an issue that touches every community, including cities, suburbs, and rural towns—and there is something each of us can do to help prevent it. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign provides plenty of opportunities for individuals or organizations to raise awareness about human trafficking.
What can you do?Lend your time, talent, and skills to the movement. Volunteer to mentor young girls and boys to foster self-respect, as well as respect for women. Reduce your slavery footprint by only consuming products that are fair trade or have traceable supply chains.
Let Me Be Brave: Story of Limb Loss
Amen, a rambunctious, 4-year-old boy from the outskirts of Addis Abba, Ethiopia. He was born with a limb difference on his right leg below the knee. Amen and his family are one of the hundreds of families living in rural areas, where low literacy rates are common, internet accessibility is scarce, and modern health services are expensive.
Amen is the only child in his family born with a limb difference, and accessing affordable prosthetic care is a financial hardship for his family. Amen’s mother, Hiwot, also shares, “People are not open about disability in our community, and I want that to change.” Her hope is that when they go home, people in the community will see her son's improved lifestyle and their perceptions about people with a disability will change.
Children who have undergone amputations or are born with limb difference are often hidden at home often without the knowledge of neighbors or friends knowing they exist. “This needs to change,” Hiwot says. “At home, [Amen] is a normal boy and does everything other children do,” she says. “He goes to school, plays soccer, and does not require help from anyone. That’s because we treat him the same. We do not hide him and we are not ashamed of him.”
Over the course of a week, Amen and Hiwot received mentorship, a free prosthesis, and information on prosthetic care. Thanks to the Limb Kind Foundation and the CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital, Amen is back to enjoying his freedom and continues to be encouraged by his family.
Show Your Shine: First Adaptive Fashion Show
Oceanside and Rockville Centre community members rallied behind 25 people with limb loss and limb differences on Jan. 11 for the Limb Kind Foundation’s inaugural “Show Your Shine” adaptive runway event. Held at Oceanside Jewish Center, the adults and children with limb differences came from across North America — 12 states and Canada — to strut the stage as models for the night in an inspiring and moving fashion show that “shined light” on their physical differences.
Philippines: Children with Limb Loss
Limb Kind Foundation: Giving Children a chance to be Independent
Paralympic Athlete: On a mission to Change Lives
Checkout another great short video created by Capture Humanity for Limb Kind Foundation. This short features Paralympic swimmer, runner and triathlete from the USA, Rudy Garcia-Tolson during a life changing Limb Kind trip in the Philippines.
Atlas of Humanity: Using Photography as Activism
A short video shot in Paris at the Atlas of Humanity Exhibition and some scenes of Capture Humanity Founder, Matilde Simas exploring the beautiful city!