a film by
Yannis Zafeiriou (yanzaf.com)
A very intense approach to commercial sexual exploitation (as part of forced labor, human trafficking and slavery), that focuses on the role of the client (without ignoring the victim) and challenges society's voices of acceptance. The film contains images and sounds which may be triggering to survivors of sexual trauma, specifically commercial sexual exploitation. Viewer discretion is advised.
Based on The Bed Of Lies art installation (thenoproject.org).
music and sound by
Stelios Koupetoris (soundcloud.com/stelioskoupetoris)
coloring and titles design by
ZANGLON STUDIO (zanglon.com)
directed, produced and edited by
A friend who works in an NGO that raises awareness about human slavery through education, multimedia, art etc. told me of the true first-hand account of a young female survivor of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
Before this girl managed to escape her traffickers, she was enslaved without access to her passport and official documents for months, she was kept in a basement, and was forced to suffer more than 20 rapes a day (sometimes closer to 40). She was expected to smile to her "clients" and had to pretend to "enjoy" the experience, while she was never allowed to keep her "earnings". During all those times, her coping mechanism - the only thing that kept her alive and sane - was this little hole in the ceiling. Through that hole, came a thin ray of light that she somehow managed to focus on. While her body was going through this intense ordeal, she imagined she could make herself very small, then float through that hole and finally fly away. That hole and that strand of light, was all that she had, to momentarily "escape" what was happening to her.
Psychologists define this behaviour as "dissociation" (defined as "the psychological detachment from one's immediate surroundings. Often occurs due to extreme stress or traumatic physical and emotional experiences.")
That story has forever haunted me and changed the way I see the world. Being fully aware of what society's voices of acceptance dictate on the matter, I wanted to challenge the notion that this is somehow acceptable. I wanted to focus on the perspective of the client (without ignoring the victim/survivor), while making the experience as immersive as possible. I expect this will be a hard film for many to watch, but my aim is to start a conversation and hopefully help shift this paradigm by changing people's attitudes to what might otherwise seem like "just a little fun".
Commercial sexual exploitation is a market-driven crime and if demand for it drops, so will the need for the supply. My goal is to bring as much attention and awareness to this issue as possible, and help make a difference in the world.
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