Every year thousands of new migrants move to the Namibian capital of Windhoek in search for work. The unemployment rate in Namibia is very high and single women find it particularly difficult to find a paid job, all the more if they are mothers of small children. Sex work often becomes the only available currency in exchange for food, shelter or for the money to send the children to school.
"The Prostitutes and the Priest" tells the story women and girls in Namibia, who have to sell their bodies in order to survive, and the priest Father Hermann Klein-Hipass who has made it his personal mission to help them.
In the short film Father Herman and the women talk about their lifes and experiences. Sex work is very dangerous in Namibia, the women face a high risk of infecting themselves with HIV and STDs, get beaten up, raped or even killed. Condemned to the lowest rungs of society they are insulted, scoffed and despised and rejected by their own people. Even charity organisations and NGOs consider them to be lost, because many of them are alcoholics and thieves. "Father Hermann ist he
only one who is helping us“ says Samantha, another protagonist in the short form.
The film is based on a long term photo project that started in 2008, as well as interviews which have been taken by Christian Bobst, the photographer, in 2013. In 2014 Christian started to edit the video with the help of Florian Mebes, a filmmaker and journalist. In 2015 they together went back to Namibia because Father Hermann had became too sick to continue his work and had to be hospitalized.
" The Prostitutes and the Priest" shows the humane and vulnarable side of women and girls who are labeled as prostitutes and suffer from social discrimination, oppression and violence. The film intends to raise attention and awareness for the desperate situation of thousands of unemployed single mums and orphans, who have to sell their bodies in order to provide food for their children or their siblings, not only in Namibia, but in many other countries throughout Africa. In addition it´s also a testimony to Father Herrman´s work, for which he was honoured for with the Merit Order from the Federal Republic of Germany in 2012.