Myrto Papadopoulos is a documentary photographer and filmmaker spe­cializing in intimate long­form projects that often involve human rights and social justice, particularly as it relates to people who are too often rendered marginal or invisible.

Originally from Athens, Greece, she worked and studied abroad for many years and returned to Greece in 2009, where she began to work intensely for international media.

It was a dark time. The financial crisis was escalating, as was an increase in migration – including refugees and those seeking asylum – from Syria, Afghanistan, and sub­Saharan Africa. There was also a dramatic increase in HIV rates. These ingredients created a toxic cocktail of nationalism, xenophobia, and a search for blame among those on the margins. At the same time, the sex industry that had always existed and was previously fairly low­key was growing, and becoming more and more multilayered and transnational.

Although sex work has been legal in Greece since 1999, within this increasingly hostile and suspicious environment, political leaders publicly blamed and shamed sex workers on more than one occasion, for everything from increased HIV rates (although there was no correlation), to being foreign (although many, if not all, were Greek themselves), to being evidence of – and contributing to – general societal decline.

It is within this context that Myrto began working on a photographic project documenting the booming sex industry in Greece.

From MESSY ETHICS In Human Rights Work   – published by UBCPress