12/24/2012 – Hunts Point, NY — A former Wall Street banker documents the faces and struggles of the poor, abused, addicted and desperate prostitutes that make up New York’s unofficial red light district – Hunts Point – one of those stories captured by his lens is a former Oklahoman.
This week The Atlantic magazine published an article on Chris Arnade, 46, a former Citibank foreign exchange trader turned photographer, storyteller and unintentional activist spreading awareness of the horrific reality of addiction and prostitution.
Arnade told the New York times that he hopes his photos and descriptions provide a platform for some of the most marginalized New Yorkers to tell their stories.
One of those Arnade has recently featured is 22-year-old Daphenie Hill of Oklahoma City. Hill, who goes by the street name ‘Beauty,’ was born and raised in Oklahoma.
Hill, who has a history of prostitution in Oklahoma City, claims she was brought to New York by a pimp who promised her she could “make some mad money.”
Hill posted online on Nov. 30, 2011 “…I can make all da money I want, if y’all want I’m going to be on Hunts Point…”
Hill says that since her arrival in New York she has had ten pimps: “Got my first black eye from one, another punched me in the mouth, but this guy is good to me.”
The ‘good one’ went by the street name ‘Trigger’ and apparently didn’t last long, as he was only her ninth pimp.
Arnade doesn’t visit Hill on the streets of Hunts Point any longer, his trips to converse with her are a bit more time-comsuming because she is currently serving time in jail on Riker’s Island.
Hill is serving time on four criminal charges, the most serious stemming from her alleged link to a robbery by her former pimp, ‘Trigger.’
Arnade recounted on his Tumblr page that Hill often openly longs for her current pimp, Bishop, whom she refers to as ‘daddy,’ when he visits her in jail.
Court records in Oklahoma show that Hill was arrested with another woman in July of 2010 and subsequently charged with misdemeanor prostitution.
Hill currently has an active Oklahoma County warrant for failure to appear in court regarding that arrest.
Hill also has Oklahoma City warrants for larceny of merchandise from the Belle Isle WalMart in 2009 and failure to appear.
The Daily Mail has also published several of Arnade’s photos in a Dec. 23 online article.
Arnade commented to The Atlantic that his critics, which include journalists and the general public, often describe him as ‘exploitive’ and ‘preying on the poor’ because he unapologetically offers to pay his subjects $20 to take their photo and recount their life story.
*Photo Credits: Top photo; Chris Arnade. Middle and bottom photos; Posted publicly by Daphenie Hill.