Bronze 2017 Book / People

Faces Behind Atrocities

  • Prize
    Bronze in Book/People
  • Photographer
    Matilde Simas

Human trafficking is globally pervasive, economically motivated, and emotionally overwhelming. The exhibit “ Faces Behind Atrocities” are portraits of 7 young women, ages 13-16, from 4 different nationalities who have been rescued from the horrors of the trafficking world and are in the healing process. In collaboration with the survivors, Matilde Simas worked to provide a forum for healing through art. In this portrait series low lighting was used to evoke a mood of deception and secrecy that has been endured. In a pure example of courage, many of these woman chose to hide their faces behind a mask to protect their identity. In addition to providing a visual representation of their resilience, beauty, and strength, each woman recorded a written testimony of how they were lead into trafficking and the atrocities they faced.A Kenyan based nonprofit, HAART Kenya, granted Matilde access to their organization to document the healing process of these young women. HAART Kenya works exclusively on combatting human trafficking in Kenya and empowering its victims.

Photographer Matilde Simas uses the capacity of photography to generate social change and empower storytelling. Her work focuses on issues of dignity and human rights around the world, illuminating the enduring strength of victims, survivors, and people affected by trauma. In her work, she actively seeks to allow her subjects’ agency — a way to impact the story and reclaim truth. In 2017, Matilde founded Capture Humanity, an organization focused on brining awareness to and prevent human trafficking.