NPR: Emma Thompson And Elena, Exposing The Sex Trade

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Emma Thompson may be best known for the stories she's been part of on screen and stage, but now she wants to tell you a different sort of tale. It's the story of a young girl, Elena, who was forced into the global sex industry.

Elena is from a small town in the Eastern European republic of Moldova. At the age of 18, she was promised a job and a future in the U.K. When she arrived, she was made into a prostitute.

Thompson, who met Elena through her involvement with a group that works to help survivors of such experiences, has curated and championed an art installation inspired by Elena's story. It's called Journey, and it has its New York opening this November. The installation comprises seven shipping containers, each designed by a different artist to interpret one part of what Thompson calls Elena's "journey into hell."

Thompson tells Scott Simon that she was immediately drawn to Elena — to protect her privacy, NPR isn't using Elena's last name — because "she's a survivor, and most survivors are extraordinary people." As they got to know each other better, however, one of Elena's qualities struck a particularly special chord with Thompson: "Her capacity to tell this story whilst laughing and smiling and being positive about it and herself."

I caught this by accident this morning on the way to the grocery store and it is still haunting me. Take the time to listen to it all (about 8 1/2 minutes).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtSexualityTeens / YouthWomen* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted October 31, 2009 at 6:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Kendall Harmon wrote:

This is just a remarkable story across the board, but one aspect I was especially blessed by was that Emma Thompson took a whole week out of her busy life to speak to people as they went in and as they came out of the exhibit in Trafalgar Square.

October 31, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
2. Dee in Iowa wrote:

Sometimes we are down on the rich and the famous, but we must remember the majority do good - quietly and without recognition many times.  This covers a subject, that all to often, is whispered.  God bless Ms. Thompson for shedding light on it….....

October 31, 9:07 pm | [comment link]
3. Carolina Anglican wrote:

The movie “Trade” with Kevin Kline tells a similar story that is equally disturbing but one I would recommend.

October 31, 10:17 pm | [comment link]
4. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

I wonder what percentage of the clients of such operations belong to the Baby Boom generation (1943 to 1961), that bunch of self-absorbed, sexually-besotted individuals, many of whose vision extends no farther than their next orgasm.

People such as Elena do not get scooped up into this business unless there are lots of people willing to drop quite a few pounds, dollars, euros, kroner, or whatever for ten minutes of physical titillation and pleasure.

October 31, 10:30 pm | [comment link]
5. Br. Michael wrote:

The fact that this sort of slavery goes on is a scandal.  We should all work and pray that it be ended.

November 1, 9:14 am | [comment link]
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