Thursday, 10 March 2011

sex trafficking

Oil paintings on board, 60 x 50 cm and 30 x 40 cm.

This image was inspired by an article that I read in the Observer on 6th Feb 2011 about a woman forced to come to England to work as a prostitute.

Marinela (painted above) spoke of her horrible experience of rape, beatings and death threats in a Manchester brothel called the Shangri-La (also painted above). Marinela was released from this life after a police raid and an investigation proved her to be an innocent victim.

The two men who trafficked her to England from Romania have received the longest sentence for trafficking in UK history, 27 years combined. However the Shangri-La has re-opened under the name of Infinity with the same telephone number, and its girls can be seen advertised online.

It is hard to know how many trafficked people are working as prostitutes in the UK, but charities believe it to be much higher than is officially recognised. An investigation last year by senior police officers identified almost 5,890 venues used illegally for paid sex in England and Wales.

I hope my paintings highlight that although the buildings may look innocent from the outside, you can never know who is inside and what they are going through. I hope the police go into these buildings more to find out what goes on inside them.