‘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
I asked the women, now in Medaille Trust safe houses, if they had any object that had survived the journey with them, something they had held on to from their country of origin. Some women had nothing, for many it was attached to their bodies and others asked me to photograph what gave them hope today. As each object was offered and its story was told, private meanings unfolded. I slowly recognised a repeating theme – that the object was precious as it held an attachment to ‘another’, someone loved. These mundane objects, overlooked by their captors, enabled the women to hold on to a sense of their ‘self’. A ‘self’ that made them resilient and ultimately gave them the power to escape.
While traffickers (and the ‘clients’) intentionally strip women of their worth to control them, the image/object reflects the quiet strength of their spirit, a sign of their extraordinary resistance