Announcing the First Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grant Winner

A young woman in a Phnom Penh slum. Investigators later found her mother was pimping the drug-addicted girl nightly to upwards of 10 Cambodian men. Tim Matsui.

The Alexia Foundation is proud to announce that Tim Matsui is the recipient of the first Women’s Initiative grant of $25,000 to document Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Seattle and King County, Washington.

A recent study by the City of Seattle found that prostitution often starts at the age of 13-14 years. The research identified 238 prostitution involved youth and estimated 300-500 in the city at any one time. A movement has begun in the area to address Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking with a victim centric, aftercare focused, and utilizing all of the Federal and State laws available, and even creating new laws. Matsui will be documenting the situation of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in the area, as well as efforts to combat it.

To better understand the damage and harm being done to young women and girls and will help bring about changes to curb the practice

According to Executive Administrator James Dooley, Matsui’s proposal highlighted a growing and serious problem that is an issue in nearly every city large or small throughout the United States.

Dooley further noted that, “it is our hope and goal that Tim’s photodocumentary project will open people’s eyes to better understand the damage and harm being done to young women and girls and will help bring about changes to curb the practice.”

Founder Aphrodite Tsairis commented, “Tim’s proposal focuses on sex trafficking in Seattle, yet, there is a universality in his message. This gross violation of female rights occurs all over our country.”

Matsui is an Emmy-nominated multimedia journalist and producer with over ten years’ experience in documenting editorial news, features and producing non-profit and corporate communications.

American citizen Tomas Rapanos, who founded a Krishna-faith-based organization in India, is held in a Cambodian jail on March 9, 2008, after being arrested for suspected sexual abuse of two Cambodian street girls aged 12 and 16 years. All three were found partially clothed in a guest house in the popular Phnom Penh backpacker area of Lakeside by police who were tipped off by investigators with the non governmental organization APLE. An increase in public relations campaigns against child sex tourism, including investigations of suspect pedophiles by NGO’s like APLE, have helped to curb overt child sexual tourism by foreigners. However, evidence suggests child sex tourism has been pushed underground by the crackdown and is still very present in Cambodia, though less available to the casual sex tourist. Tim Matsui

Throughout his career, Matsui has been helping battle sexual abuse of minors using his documentary abilities. He founded Friends Educating Against Rape Project, a non-profit that used documentary multimedia to create a dialog about the lasting effects of sexual violence on individuals and communities. Following upon this, Matsui began to document sex and labor trafficking, producing Cambodia: Srey Neth, a victim and survivor story in Cambodia.

“Tim has professional stature and a long term commitment to this subject. He documents, he becomes an agent of change and he provides hopeful solutions. This is the “stuff” of an Alexia photographer,” said Aphrodite Tsairis.

To arrive at Matsui, the Alexia Foundation Photojournalism Advisory Committee narrowed narrowed the entries to three finalists: Tim Matsui, Mary Calvert and Carlos Javier Ortiz.

From there, founders Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis, Richard Krim, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, James Dooley, Executive Administrator, David Sutherland, Acting Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photography at S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, and Brian Storm, founder and executive producer of MediaStorm, reviewed the three proposals, and decided to award the grant to Tim Matsui.

Congratulations Tim, and thank you everyone for all of your proposals and your help promoting this first step in our new Women’s Initiative.

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21 thoughts on “Announcing the First Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grant Winner

  1. Congratulations Tim! And congratulations Alexia Foundation for finding a great documentarian, with a great cause, as the first grant winner.

    How/where will the images be displayed?

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  3. Congratulations! Good luck with your continued endeavor to document and raise awareness of this horrific problem.

  4. Thank you for your work. Your photos are powerful and will help end the exploitation of young women.

  5. Thank you all for the well wishes and congratulations! I’m looking forward to the challenges of telling this story and am very grateful for the support of the Alexia Foundation. I sincerely hope this work has a positive impact.

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