‘Belongings’ refers to the surviving mementos from women who have been trafficked to the U.K.
Women who have survived forced sexual exploitation and/or forced labour. The woman I met are now in safe houses across the country, but this is a temporary shelter, as they are only legally entitled to 48 days protected stay. We know about trafficking but we cant see it, it is behind the doors of ordinary houses on our streets, used by ordinary men we may know.
As the women go through the grueling asylum process the memories of their ordeal surface. They are alone, homeless, stateless and most significantly traumatised. The full extent of horror that the women have survived is absent from my work partly because of the shame it brings them and because my aim is not to shock but to resonate with what it is to be human. It is precisely their humanity that has been violated.
I asked the women about the objects that had made the journey with them, something they had held onto. Many women had nothing unless it was attached to their bodies and others asked me to photograph what gave them hope today. The common bond between the women was not the fact each had been trafficked but that the object held an attachment to someone they loved and their resilience.