Tiana Markova-Gold is a freelance documentary photographer based in Miami, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. She received a New York Times Scholarship to attend the full-time Photojournalism Program at the International Center of...
Skills:Research, Color Correction, Adobe Photoshop, Stylist, Photo Editing, Black & White Printing, Color Printing, Mixed Media, Fashion Styling, Multimedia Production, Photojournalism
Kristina, 22 years old, is the only transgender or male sex worker who works in the street on a regular basis. She has been the victim of numerous incidents of violence, physical as well as emotional and psychological.
Kristina reported being raped by a client to men who identified themselves as police officers. The men recorded her with a cell-phone camera as she described the attack and later posted the video on youtube. Nothing was done about the reported attack. Skopje, Macedonia 2010
Dunja, 23 years old, lives with her parents, brother and one year-old son. Since her husband has been in jail she has been working five nights a week in the street to support her entire family. Skopje, Macedonia 2010
Sandra, 34 years old, has been a sex worker for six years. She is very selective about her clientele and the conditions in which she works. She lives with and provides the primary financial support for her seven year-old daughter, her sister and extended family in Shutka. She keeps a job in a local restaurant so that her family will not question where her money comes from. Skopje, Macedonia 2010
Sabina's aunt plays with her son while a cousin looks on from the doorway of Sabina's home in Shutka. Sabina, 28 years old, has five children, four of whom live with her in a one-room house. She began sex work when she was 15 years old, stopping when she was married and starting again when her husband went to prison. Skopje, Macedonia 2010
Suto Orizari, otherwise known as Shutka, is the only municipality in the country where Roma people make up a majority of the population. A disproportionate number of street-based sex workers, those most vulnerable, are members of the Roma community, Macedonia’s most harshly discriminated against ethnic minority group. Skopje, Macedonia 2010
In Macedonia, as throughout the world, sex workers are pushed to the margins of society by a combination of prejudice, discrimination, and violence. Sex workers inhabit a particularly vulnerable position in Macedonian society, facing harassment and violence not only from their clients and pimps, but also from law enforcement officials and other authorities. These abuses include physical violence, illegal detention, compulsory testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and rape, which are compounded by substandard enforcement of law and lack of access to health and support services. Adding to these challenges are the risks of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, drug addiction, a hostile public attitude, and mass-media harassment. Because of the tremendous negative stigma connected to prostitution in Macedonia, many sex workers are living double lives, concealing the fact that they are sex workers from their families and the communities in which they live. A disproportionate number of street-based sex workers, those most vulnerable, are members of the Roma community, Macedonia’s most harshly discriminated against ethnic minority group. Gay and transgender sex workers are often targeted and further marginalized because of their sexual or gender orientation.
My work on this project was done in close collaboration with Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS). Founded in 1997, HOPS launched an outreach program for support of street-based sex workers in Skopje in 2000, which later spread to include sex workers in the Roma community and is now working with sex workers in four regions nationally. HOPS provides support services (health, social, legal, drop-in, child support), advocacy and lobbying. HOPS works to promote the rights of sex workers with the basic premise that the selling of sexual services does not justify denial of fundamental rights, to which all human beings are entitled.
For more information about HOPS visit www.hops.org.mk