My world is very small indeed. I had not heard of Mary Ellen Mark before this article (June 1, 2015), and this article, I’m sure, only barely grazes the surface of her life’s work.
Sex trafficking in Kamathipura — the red-light district in which Falkland Road is located — dates back to 18th century British colonial rule. In the years after Mark’s work, anti-trafficking organizations like Prerana — established in 1986 — offered night shelters to sex workers so they’d have a safe place for themselves and their children. The nonprofit also runs a children’s home to provide long-term residential care and protection to those at risk of being trafficked. (NPR)
Since I saw this article, I went on a mission to find her books! It was more difficult than I imagined, but thank God for interlibrary loans!
The book I borrowed from the library was missing a dust cover and several pages had been ripped out. I’m not sure why someone defaced it but it even without reading it in it’s entirety, I was enthralled.
The photographs are amazing. Not in the wow, I want to find framable versions for my home, but in the wow, I can’t believe that a.) humans are treated this way (then and still) and b.) Ms. Mark had the courage and the vision to spend a decade gaining the trust of these men and women in order to photograph them.
Ms. Mark was a talented photographer and not afraid to raise awareness for an issue that most of the world would like to pretend does not exist. But it does, all over the world.