sold won 1st prize at the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2020.

Check it out here and here

SOLD is a series of 25 anonymous portraits of victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands.

The portraits were shot in their rooms in shelters where these women and men temporarily found safety, and a home, and maybe the start of a better life. The clothes they wore were often their only possessions.


The portraits were collaborative efforts between me and the portrayed. We shared ideas and worked together to create portraits that show their strength and beauty, not portraying them as victims.

Being a victim does not define them. These are people, just like us. People who had something terrible happen to them. People who are very strong. To have lived through what happened to them takes a lot of determination and character. They are people with hopes and dreams, and hopefully a better future ahead.

The only requirement for the portraits was they had to be anonymous to protect their identities. This is because they are still in danger. Police and the justice department are still investigating these cases. 90% of the perpetrators are never caught.

I worked on this project for two-and-a-half years. It began a few years ago when I was quite surprised to learn there was a shelter for victims of human trafficking in Amsterdam. I never thought this was a problem that occurred in the Netherlands. This information stuck in my head. I wanted to know more and started researching. It took a long while to be able to meet with these brave people, and even longer to earn their trust to make their portraits. I heard many horrifying personal stories, and discovered facts and statistics about human trafficking (locally and worldwide) that are devastating and unfathomable.

I learned that trafficking and slavery is not something that only happens in countries that are “far away.” In fact it is a worldwide problem, and it is close to all of us, no matter where you live.

Some of the people I portrayed have been able to leave the shelters and try to return to normal lives. Many have left the shelters on their own and it is unclear what has become of them. Others fill the rooms at the shelters today. It is an endless stream of victims.

“They where waiting for me at the beach.”

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“The truck was my home”

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“Over a period of two and a half years I wasn’t allowed a single break.”

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"I think i was dead inside.That is how I survived. "

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“The shame I feel is too immense

and being away from my children hurts”
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“Head over heels in love, I was even willing to work in prostitution for him”

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“My mother-in-law sold me.”

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"The men I was taken to had entirely different plans for me. They forced me to work in prostitution. "

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"When they set off to drive me and the others to another location, I seized my chance to escape."

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“I was pregnant through rape and at a loss for what to do”

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"I have been to so many places that i sometimes did not even know in what country i was."

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"I fell prey to the traffickers, the criminals, because I was so eager to work and had no other means of making money. "

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"My mom always called me Precious, she never used my real name. I have not seen her in 5 years. I think if she knew what has happened she will not call me that name anymore."

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"I was locked up for months, getting abused by many."

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“Thankfully they never hurt my little boy, but for months he did have to stay locked in a small room”

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"I made long hours and had no home, lived and slept on the front seats of the truck."

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“I have trouble telling what happened to me there.”
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"Most people won't believe i was a forced to please men, they think it only happens to women."

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“He was so nice and promised to pay for my operation.”

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"We were forced to work and live on that farm, the children had to work too." 

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" Do you mind if I don't talk?"

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