Crossing Borders

TRISTAN'S MOON art installation

Conflict, displacement and homelessness place boys at acute risk for sexualized violence, human trafficking & a life servicing adults in the international sex trade in boys.

When multi-lingual, multi-racial and multi-cultural boys travel, they interact with boys (& adults from diverse disciplines and professions) embedded in distinct localities of transit and destination within and across U.N. borders and continents. 

Poverty, migration and changing social structures increase boys vulnerability to HIV – but the specific risks are most often directly related to sexual violence and to sexual exploitation, including high-risk sexual encounters for survival, in exchange for food or other relief supplies, to pass borders or to gain certain types of protection.

Art and poetry, and ideas, cross borders without a passport.

MI CIUDAD, MI SER by Richaud Caillon (Music gifted by BILL ORTIZ)

Richaud is retracing his victim-sex-trafficking steps from where he was first trafficked 2 US.

Kiril has written many poems. He dedicated A Man Arrived to his mother, who sold him. Kiril does not speak English. **translated by Boris.

Поэзия Кирилла

Для мамы.

Однажды человек пришел.

Мама плакала.

Она продала меня.

У нас не было денег.

Мне пришлось бежать. Я бежал.

Человек поймал меня.

Нехороший пьяный человек.

Я ненавидел его дыхание.

Они  делали плохие вещи со мной


Ты продала меня. Я побежал быстро.

Дети бегут от мужчин

Бегите, дети,

Спасайтесь! Это было зимой.

Моя мать продала меня.

Сейчас я хочу уснуть

И замерзнуть в снегу.

До этого времени все было покрыто льдом.


Poetry by Kiril

for mom

One day a man came.

Mom was crying.

She sold me.

We had no money.

I had to run. I ran.

The man caught me.

This man was mean

and drank vodka.

I hated him breathing. They

do bad things to me, mother.

You sold me. I ran hard.

Children running from men

arriving. Run, children,

escape. It was winter

My mother sold me.

Now I want to sleep

frozen in the snow.

Until recently, it's been ICE.

Торговля детьми

In Russia, it’s called a boarding school. It’s more of a prison than a boarding school.

In Russia, it’s called pornography. It’s as much of a prison as it is pornography.

The typical boarding school for orphans is an intimidating institution built in the 18th Century. You can’t escape the analogy to prison. The people who work in these places are often also working with police. Not against the traffickers. The police are the traffickers. Officially, there would typically be three hundred children living in such a place where such things as tuberculosis are epidemic. HIV is not so much as an afterthought in these horrific warehouses.

There are people who have argued that the official numbers are bogus.

UNESCO estimates that there are over three million homeless children in Russia. A million of them are orphaned. 

By Western standards, the porn studio outside of Pskov is prehistoric. It appears to be an old house with mud for a yard because it is an old house with mud for a yard. The videos they produce are strictly amateur, but they command a lot of money. 

There are two kinds of children in Russia who do sex work. One is the homeless urban child from (just as an example) St. Petersburg who lives on the street or in the subway system tunnels. The other is a child from a poor rural boarding school.

When the children are rounded up in the urban setting, the rural setting is where they are taken.

The American contact for the Russian mob — organized crime — is in New York.

Follow the money.

Аэропорт Великие Луки. Private airport. Private planes.

The first part of this journey begins in the Russian world of child pornography where the children are shown the ropes. This is often their introduction to prostitution and drugs.

Follow the drugs.

From Pskov, the flight to Vyborg is usually uneventful.

The children are divided into two groups (boys and girls) in Vyborg.

The two groups leave Vyborg separately in trucks. The trip across the border on the road to Helsinki is not uneventful. The truck with the boys leaves the main road for a road through the woods that is almost always through a sea of mud. There are many such roads that cross over into Finland. They will pass through Virolahti.

If there was a point at which the children could be taken from traffickers, it’s the road to the border of Finland. These are barely roads at all. There is simply no way for their vehicles to turn around.

There is a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. From Stockholm it can be anywhere from Istanbul to Abu Dhabi.

Or New York.

There is a high-end market for blonds. They can command a king’s ransom in the sex trade.

The boys are drugged. They sleep a lot.

Trafficked girls are easier to spot because they are accompanied by too many men.

Trafficked boys are harder to spot because they are accompanied by female handlers; mostly older, maternal-looking grandmother types.

There is care and expense taken with trafficking boys. Damaging the merchandise is not good for business. This is a specialty transaction.

After a kid has been doing pornography for a while, he’s often infected with HIV. His access to sexual information is nonexistent.

By the time an HIV positive male is sold — buyer beware — it’s usually too late for returns, and such boys simply disappear into thin air.

There are weak spots in this system. One would be Pskov itself. It’s not that big a town. Faces can be remembered. Kids being trafficked are at risk for being kidnapped by rival gangs.

The route through Finland is also how drugs like heroin find their way to Western Europe. Trafficking children and drugs are often done hand-in-hand.

Officials are bribed all along the route.

If the boy’s destination is the UAE, chances are good he will never be seen in public again.

After a while, sex work will be all he knows. The rest of it will only be an echo of things he thought he knew.

Dima is Twelve

Dima was trafficked, and no one is sure who his parents were, (it is assumed probably correct that they are dead) but what we do know is that his existence has been nothing less than a living hell on planet earth. Dima has AIDS and is suffering from a case of anal gonorrhea which means he wears a diaper. A twelve-year-old in a diaper goes down with some grimness in the eyes of any twelve-year-old kid. What this one has endured is the unendurable. Diapers are at a premium in an orphanage where most of the children stink and the visitor is repelled like a wind gust from some dank cellar just got jerked opened by a blast furnace. You trip to stagger over it. The people who work there know. Kids die all the time.

I have major goodies.

Art supplies. Camera.

Dima is many things. Ravaged would be one. But Dima is not stupid. He knows what a camera is.

He wants to photograph his art work on paper. I show him how it works. He’s fascinated and touches the camera gently.

I do not tell them what to draw or what to photograph. It’s on them.

He’s opting to black and white. He wants to know if he can draw on the photograph. Yes.


We are now in the let us look at this phase. Looking deciding.

I explain he can take many pictures. It doesn’t have to be just one.

Mouth to the ground.

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