Documentary film-maker and photojournalist Mimi Chakarova talks about her film, the Price of Sex, which screened in London this week as part of the Human Rights Watch Festival 2012.
Chakarova describes how it took her four years to persuade some of the East European women who’d been sold into sex slavery to tell their stories on camera. They describe being duped by promises of well-paid jobs abroad into leaving their homes and lives in poor parts of Bulgaria and Moldova.
It’s a brutal tale about how poverty makes young women vulnerable to traffickers’ promises, leading them to become trapped inside the virtual cells of brothels and bars in Athens, Istanbul and Dubai.
“You don’t make a film unless you feel that there’s a possibility to change things,” says Chakarova, who branched into film-making having reached what she felt were the limits of photo journalism.
“It’s depressing subject matter but you have to turn it around,” she said, urging everyone to watch and learn from The Price of Sex. Though the film features only a few cities, she makes clears its stories play out every day on streets around the world.