Cuidame que yo te cuidaré

Susette Kok

Guided by Karina Nunez, sex worker and activist against sexual exploitation, this documentary work began in March 2013. We toured different parts of Uruguay to ensure that child and adolescent sexual exploitation is embedded in the depths of society, from small towns to big cities. Through photography and after listening to the life stories of victims, more than twenty-five people in the 'environment', I tried to bring light to the issue. I refused to interview or show children and teenagers because it would have been causing more damage, and they should never be linked to this issue. I chose to photograph only adult men and women who were sexually exploited when they were children and now can see how violence has affected their lives. Although they risked being stigmatized and in many cases they reopening their emotional wounds, they never hesitated to reveal their stories in exchange for what was most important for all of them: to prevent and raise awareness of this issue.

17.815. Take care of me I’ll take care of you. This number reminds us of the law that criminalizes the act of having sex, in exchange for payment or anything else, with people under 18 punishing it with imprisonment. Unfortunately, these crimes continue to occur and, whether it’s defined as an issue that should be included in political or personal agenda, many children and adolescents are still exploited. It is my wish that this documentary work generate awareness, reflection and action on such an obscure problem, so natural and, at the same time 'allowed' by society. Hopefully the opportunity to approach this reality will be the starting point for a real cultural change to build a country that never allows sexual violence against children and adolescents. The problem is there and it's ours.

Susette Kok. Fourth generation of photographers, born in Hilversum, Holland, in 1967. She started learning photography in the studio of his father when she was young. She studied a Master of Communication and International Relations at the University of Amsterdam. Simultaneously, she attended courses and workshops on photography and imaging at the Center for Fine Arts in that same city. She worked in various advertising agencies in different countries, such as Holland, Singapore, Russia and the United States (NY). In 2002 she settled in Montevideo, Uruguay. A year later, she chose to devote herself fully to photography. After working three years as a freelance photographer for different clients in the areas of fashion, design and portraits, she decided to documentary photography, deepening the social and anthropological elements of her projects.

In 2004 she created the Visionair Foundation, a non-profit organization that uses image and art as a vehicle. The Foundation’s programs are created focusing on human rights and especially emphasizing issues related to children and women in their approach. Much of the photographic projects undertaken by the Foundation aim to raise awareness about social problems and raise funds to improve the quality of life of the people involved in them. She published in Uruguay the books "I'm- 75 portraits, 75 stories" and “17.815. Take care of me I’ll take care of you“ about the Sexual Exploitation of children and Adolescents.