'Missing' (2007) by Rachel Wilberforce

photograph of bedroom with a blindfold and restraints on the pillow

The International Slavery Museum acquired these photographs as part of its contemporary slavery collecting policy. What is striking from comments left by visitors on the comments board is that many see slavery as something that happened in the past. These photographs show scenes of a slave trade which still thrives, and illustrate how much slavery is still very much a contemporary issue.

Photographed in urban and suburban Britain by the artist Rachel Wilberforce, the images depict sex-trafficking and prostitution: the interiors and exteriors of working or derelict flats, brothels and so-called massage parlours. They are devoid of people, yet at the same time reveal human activity.

'Missing' responds to the psychology of sexual exploitation: the loss of identity, sense of displacement and violation of human rights, as well as the clandestine nature of the crimes.

Further information and images are on Rachel Wilberforce's website .

visitor looking at museum display of framed photographs

Twenty framed archival giclee prints, 18 x 27cm

Accession number ISM.2009.10.1-20