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).
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