Photographer Alex Koeleman shows in her photo series intrusive portraits of girls from Cambodia and the Philippines who have been sexually exploited. Now they are staying in Terre des Hommes Netherlands' shelters. Here the children receive medical assistance, therapy, personal counselling and education.
As the girls must not be depicted in a recognizable way, they are wearing masks. Alex consciously chose for ‘festive’ masks as a symbol for a new, better future. Most victims prove to be surprisingly resilient in real life, and with proper assistance most of them are offered hope for a better future.
With her serie of portraits Photographer Alex Koeleman has been awarded the second prize in the category Portrait of the Dutch 'Silver Camera' in 2014.
"They have got power"
Photographer Alex Koeleman made portraits of sexually exploited girls in Terre des Hommes Netherlands' projects.
“As the girls must not be depicted in a recognizable way, I got the idea of giving them masks. With these masks I wanted to give them something beautiful, not just ‘take something’. Making portraits had to be a small party to them. I was really moved to see that happen. Despite their horrible experiences, the girls are very sturdy and can be very happy. They have got power. The photos show they have.”