Gallery Show: Columbia City Gallery

July 30th, 2009


Currently on display at the Columbia City Gallery are twelve images from my work in Cambodia on human trafficking. Recently, I gave an intimate talk about modern day slavery and how I’ve been covering it.

This is the “blurb” for the gallery and on the jump are the prints I’m displaying….

“Tim Matsui will speak about his ongoing work documenting the complexities of human trafficking and exploitation, highlighting his time in Southeast Asia. With an eye toward regional policy, Tim will provide glimpses into reality of human trafficking and methods employed to counter exploitation. While the story can be as simple as a child sold by his or her parents, the complexities lie education, poverty, health care, gender equality; these turn human trafficking, he believes, into a mere symptom of a greater problem. Tim will put a face to one small part, and help the audience better understand their role, in the global slave trade.”


Srey Neth, a 19 year-old Cambodian, stands where the shack she and her mother lived in a slum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At 14 her mother sold her to a neighborhood pimp for $300; he then sold her virginity for the same price then forced her to have sex with upwards of 20 men per night. If she refused she was beaten or electrocuted. She was rescued in a buy-bust operation by the NGO International Justice Mission in cooperation with the Cambodian authorities and over the last five years lived at various victim aftercare facilities, most recently Transitions Cambodia where she is now a spokesperson and staff member.


Prostitute Srey Bee (left) relaxes before a night of sex work in a nearby park in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She lives with other prostitutes in a downtown slum known for its gangs, pimps, prostitutes, and high rate of HIV.


The slum where Srey Neth was sold and held captive for sex slavery at age 14 in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Life at Steung Meanchey, the landfill outside of Phnom Penh, the Capitol of Cambodia, where many people making a meager wage of $1 US dollar per day or less collecting recyclables from the trash. Families live on or near the smoking rubbish heaps and represent some of the disadvantaged who are vulnerable to exploitation in this post-conflict country with a limited middle class.


An evening out with an investigations team looking for underage girls in establishements known for sex work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


A suspected pedophile under observation by the investigative non governmental organization APLE is repeatedly observed on the Riverfront “grooming” a 12 year-old girl with her mother’s consent in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on February 3, 2008. He gives her and her 9 year-old sister gifts, entertains them, and in the evening, when it gets dark, investigators say he begins touching and kissing the 12 year-old.


A Cambodian man leaves a wooden shack serving as a brothel in the Toul Kork neighborhood of Phnom Penh.


Police General Bith Kimhong, Director of the National Anti Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Accused American Thomas Rapanos in a Cambodian police jail awaiting formal charges of debauchery for being caught in his guest house with two partially clothed girls aged 12 and 16.


Bon Oum Von, a 59 year-old plantation worker, facilitated migrant crossings from Cambodia to Thailand from 1991-2002


Undocumented Cambodian migrants wait in the mangrove swamp for calmer waters before crossing into Thailand.


Undocumented Cambodian migrants cross the border into Thailand using a “facilitator” to help them navigate the surrounding minefields. The migrants are leaving in search of work in the more prosperous Thailand and, according to migrants and NGO workers, pay bribes to the Cambodia border guards then evade detection by Thai border guards by risking their lives in the mine fields.

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