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Colors 51: The Road

For COLORS 51 we visit truck stops on some of the world’s most remote highways and borders, document the communities that live, work and pass through these places—and find out what undeclared items travel in the back of the trucks.

Where there are trucks, there is smuggling and sex. In the small, landlocked southern African country of Swaziland, a study found that 56 percent of truckers were HIV positive. As these men drive from Botswana to Namibia, South Africa to Mozambique, they spend some of their nights with sex workers, spreading the disease across borders. Swaziland is thought to have the second highest rate of AIDS infection in the world and so the country’s king has come up with a solution: A five year sex ban for young unmarried women. Any man who defies the ban will be fined a cow. We stopped at Ngwenya truck stop and spoke to truckers and prostitutes about sex, Aids and the king’s decree.

Next stop: Laos, center of the Golden Triangle and one of the largest opium and heroin producers in the world. It is also a conduit for drugs from China, Burma and Vietnam. Ironically, truckers here reject opium in favor of amphetamines, to help keep them awake on long journeys.

The border between Iraq and Turkey is thought to be one of the most porous borders in the world. Oil, drugs and arms are all being smuggled in and out of Iraq.

From Turkey-Iraq border we travel to Coldfoot, Alaska, a truck stop on the Dalton Highway in route to Deadhorse. Truckers supply the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay, and the highway runs alongside the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The USA consumes more oil than any other nation on earth. We speak to truckers, local indigenous people and waitresses what they think.

Every year countless goods of every imaginable kind are trucked from city to city; state to state. In Europe, nearly 80 percent of goods are transported by truck; in the USA the figure is over 70 percent. From small gasoline stations and motels on the road between St Petersburg, Russia and Narva, Estonia, to stops on the spanking new highway that passes through the Orinoco basin in Brazil and Venezuela, people and goods are on the move. COLORS 51: THE ROAD. Not just another roadside attraction.
 

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