Im Alter von 14, 15, 16 Jahren sind sie von enthemmten Soldaten in Myanmar vergewaltigt worden. Blutend und nackt haben sie überlebt, sind aus ihren verbrannten Dörfern geflüchtet mit den Bildern ihrer hingemetzelten Verwandten im Kopf. Nun sind sie in Flüchtlingslagern in Bangladesch, während in ihrem Leib die von Mördern gezeugten Kinder wachsen. 

Der US-amerikanische Fotograf Brian Sokol hat einige der werdenden Mütter fotografiert, hat ihren schrecklichen Geschichten zugehört. Sokols Porträts sind bewusst sehr vorsichtig; er nennt die wahren Namen der Mädchen nicht, und er symbolisiert mit den Schleiern die heikle Existenz der Opfer, ihr Trauma, ihre Scham und ihre Angst, ausgestoßen zu werden. Er widerspricht dabei aber Medienberichten, wonach die meisten Mädchen an Abtreibung dächten. Das Gegenteil sei der Fall. Für viele der Mädchen und jungen Frauen, die ihre gesamte Familie verloren hätten, sei das Baby in ihrem Bauch auch mit der Hoffnung verbunden, mit neuem Leben aus der Hölle hervorzugehen.

Biografie: Brian Sokol (für UNICEF)

Portrait: Brian Sokol

© 2017 Tom Van Houtryve

Brian Sokol is a US-born photographer, author and speaker dedicated to documenting human rights issues and humanitarian crises worldwide.
A recipient of National Geographic Magazine's Eddie Adams Grant, he has been selected as one of PDN´s 30 Emerging Photographers To Watch.

Since 2012 he has focused on telling the stories of refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and stateless people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The Most Important Thing—his ongoing, long-term portraiture project—seeks to humanize and convey the dignity of individuals who have been dehumanized by conflict, government policies and the media. His goal is to engender empathy and action in audiences across the lines of language, race, religion and culture.

A former Himalayan guide and wilderness ranger, Brian is happiest when at extreme altitude or latitude; he initially came to photography through a passion for high, remote places. He frequently works on various themes related to displacement, perhaps owing to the fact that he’s lived abroad for 20 years and feels himself more a citizen of the world than of any particular country.

His work appears in publications including TIME, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has exhibited on 5 continents and in both the New York and Geneva headquarters of the United Nations. The Most Important Thing has been adapted into performance art featuring Hollywood celebrities and projected at the Cannes Film Festival.

He has spoken on BBC, NBC, at TEDx San Diego, the the Newseum in Washington D.C. and the Annenberg Space for Photography in L.A. His photographs are included in multiple collections in North America, Europe and Asia.

He works with corporate and advertising clients such as Ogilvy & Mather, Philips and the World Bank Group. Humanitarian clients and include UNICEF, UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Ikea Foundation.
He is represented by Panos Pictures and is a Sony Global Imaging Ambassador.