Documentary Matters: 1-12-22--matilde-simas

D O C U M E N T A R Y    M A T T E R S   V I R T U A L   

Matilde Simas
Talking about her ZEKE Award submission: Philippines: Girls as a Commodity

View video »

Wednesday, January 12, 7:00 pm ET via zoom

Photo by Matilde Simas

Presented by:
SDN LogoDigital Silver ImagesBridge Gallery




Click here to register » 

Philippines: Girls as a Commodity 

This photo documentary project by Matilde Simas sheds light on the plight of children who are sold into domestic servitude and the cybersex trade in the Philippines. Through real-time photo capture, the series is an intimate look at the healing and recovery processes of rescued Filipino girls living in non-governmental organization (NGO) shelters. At the shelters, survivors are provided with legal, psychological, and protective support. They receive counseling, medical assistance, skills training, education, and an opportunity to practice sports. 

The Philippines has been identified as a global epicenter of live-stream sexual abuse trade, with around 80% of Filipino children at risk of online sexual abuse (UNICEF, 2016). The U.S. Department of Justice reported a 264% increase in the number of incidents of online sexual abuse of children during March to May 2020, the first three months of the government-imposed quarantine to contain COVID-19.

While not always visible, the girls' images reveal there is necessary work entailed in their recovery process. As a result of this project I learned victims of trafficking are left to endure irreversible psychological damage as a result of their trauma.

Matilde Simas

Matilde SimasMatilde Simas is a documentary photographer based in Boston. She graduated from Suffolk University with a B.S. in Psychology and Women’s Study and attended Rhode Island School Design to study digital photography. Matilde’s global work as a photographer is guided from a humanitarian perspective and includes a long-term documentary project on human trafficking and advocacy for specialized services for exited survivors to live sustainable lives. She uses storytelling to inform, provoke discussion and ultimately inspire action.

Her images have been published in the Trafficking in Person Report, an annual publication of the U.S. State Department meant to build awareness, educate, and propose solutions to the global issue of human trafficking. Additionally, Matilde's images appear in several research publications in Kenya to advance anti-trafficking efforts and support victims. Her photography has been showcased internationally and widely exhibited by various United Nations agencies. In 2017, Matilde founded Capture Humanity, an organization founded on bringing awareness to human rights issues.


Visit the Bridge Gallery to view highlights from the 2021 ZEKE Award

On view January 8 – February 5, 2022
Bridge Gallery, 5 Pemberton Street, Cambridge, MA 
Opening Day: Saturday, January 8, 12:00 pm  – 6: 00 pm
Click here for more information.


Documentary Matters

Documentary Matters, started in 2016, reaches a global audience and draws on accomplished photographers from all parts of the world to present their work and foster discussion. Presenters have included internationally renowned photographers such as Ed Kashi, Jamel Shabazz, Susan Meiselas, Rania Matar, and Barbara Davidson as well as photographers local to the Boston area.