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Photographer Offered Baby for $50, Raises $50K to Fight Human Trafficking

What would you do if you were photographing people in Bulgaria, there as a volunteer for an anti-human trafficking nonprofit no less, and you were offered a baby for $50.

The interaction seems outright absurd, perhaps even unbelievable, to those of us who have never experienced such a thing first hand, but that’s what happened to Seattle-based photographer Tanner Wendell Stewart in 2012. It was the moment that would forever alter his life.

From that moment on, Stewart knew he had to dedicate himself and his considerable skills as a photographer to fighting this terrible, world-wide problem.

The photograph that started it all. This is the child that was offered to Stewart for $50 in Bulgaria.

The photograph that started it all. This is the child that was offered to Stewart for $50 in Bulgaria.

Over the course of 2013, he embarked on a 365 project with a purpose. Each day he took another spectacular photograph, driving a total of 10,000 miles in 7 months and visiting some 20 national parks in five different countries.

The images are stunning, but what he did with them is even better.

In March and April of this year, he ran an Indiegogo campaign to turn these photographs into a photo book called Shoot the Skies. He raised $74,000, and every penny that didn’t go into printing and shipping the books went straight to The A21 Campaign, the same nonprofit he was volunteering with that fateful day in Bulgaria.

The book is packed full of stunning photographs like the one you see above.

The book is packed full of stunning photographs like the one you see above.

In all, he’s donated over $50,000 to the charity at a time when, by The A21 Campaign’s own estimates, approximately 27 million men, women and children are enslaved throughout the world today.

This is a massive problem, one that a small photo book by a generous photographer certainly won’t fix. But every life that Stewart’s photos save is a step in the right direction. And now that his campaign is getting so much press, hopefully that $50K will only be the start of many more generous contributions to come.

To hear Stewart’s story for yourself, check out the video at the top. And if you’d like to help support this cause, you can visit the Shoot the Skies website or go straight to the source by pointing your browser towards The A21 Campaign.

(via The Huffington Post)