Artist highlights plight of young sold into sex trade

Tim Doak and his wife Deborah in Cambodia. INLM41-008
Tim Doak and his wife Deborah in Cambodia. INLM41-008
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LURGAN artist Tim Doak is currently exhibiting a body of work which highlights the grim situation facing some children in Cambodia.

Tim’s faith and passion for photography took him to Cambodia where he spent some time visiting local missionary projects which help with children rescued from sex trafficking as well as taking photos to illustrate his experience.

These photos have been collated to form an exhibition currently running in Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown.

Tim (36), who married his wife Deborah last year, explained how he got involved in photography and what brought him to Cambodia.

He said: “My path wasn’t heading down the photography route at all. I did a degree in Geography and a course in computing. I was doing website design through a company called and a bit of photography.

“I went travelling around the world with a point and click camera to the likes of Australia, New Zealand, America and Fiji.

“I just started to get more and more into photography. When I came back home I saw an ad in the Lurgan Mail for an HND in photography at the Upper Bann Institute.

“I did the course part time over three years while continuing with the web design.

“After that I did a degree in creative imaging and a Master of Fine Art degree at the University of Ulster in photography.

“Web design paid the bills but taking pictures and telling stories through those pictures was my passion.”

Tim got involved with the Millennium Court Arts Centre and has given photography workshops at the building in Portadown, where he is having his latest exhibition entitled ‘Look At Me Now And Here I Am’.

He told the ‘MAIL’ how it came about. He said: “Brian McConaghy, spoke in High Street Presbyterian Church about two and a half years ago. His dad used to be minister there 40 or 50 years ago.

“The family emigrated to Canada where Brian joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

As it transpired, Brian, in his role as a Mountie, had tracked a Canadian paedophile to Cambodia. When he saw what was going on there with children being sold into prostitution he set out to do something about it.

Tim said: “He set up the group Ratanak and that’s what he was speaking in the church about.

“I spoke to him and also got involved with the group. That’s how my photography project in Cambodia came about.”

Tim continued: “I got married on October 21. We spent a week on honeymoon in Cambodia then the second week was spent visiting Ratanak projects. I went back again to take photographs of young girls who had been rescued from trafficking and Deborah, who is a psychiatrist returned to help some of the counsellors.

“Human trafficking is not just something that happens on the other side of the world. There are groups here in Northern Ireland and closer to home in Craigavon who are working to stop human trafficking.”

Tim’s exhibition runs until November 24. Find out more at