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Per-Anders Pettersson March 19, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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Child prostitutes prepare for work. Kinshasa, Congo

Per-Anders Pettersson (b.1967, Sweden) began his professional career as a photographer in the late eighties after studying business and working for a local newspaper in his hometown. In 1990, he moved to New York and covered major news and feature stories in over 60 countries most recently in Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Chad and China. He works on assignment for Stern, GEO, Newsweek, and many other major international newspapers and magazines. In 1995, Pettersson produced a book of work from 1991-1995. His project on the ”Flying Squad’ a South African police unit was exhibited at Visa Pour L’image in Perpignan in September 2001. He participated in the ”A Day in the Life of Africa” book project in the spring of 2002, photographing in Kinshasa, Congo.

About the Photograph:

“Esther Yandakwa, age 9, Francine Nyanda, age 14, and Gladys Lutadila, age 14, Clarisse Bongalo, age 14, have their nails done on April 2006 in Matonge district in central Kinshasa, Congo, DRC. They are homeless and work as prostitutes together. They live outside, next to a polluted river. They have all run away from their parents. They have been living in a homeless shelter for children, but don’t like the rules there. They smoke cigarettes, marijuana, drink whiskey and sometimes take Valium. They charge their clients as little as one dollar. About 15,000 children are estimated to live on the streets of Kinshasa.  After forty years of mismanagement by a corrupt dictator and former president Mobuto Sese Seko the Congo is in ruins. A civil war began there after he fled the country in 1997.”

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