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Photographer Taryn Simon spent five days sleeping on a mattress at JFK Airport in Queens, New York, in order to document all the captured contraband and banned goods going in and out of the country. Her newly-released photo essay provides a rarely-seen glimpse of the smuggling trade, including shots of knockoff handbags disguised as shopping bags, date-rape drugs hidden in fake chemicals and the occasional deer penis disguised as deer penis.
There were containers filled with Botox-making ingredients, fake Louis Vuitton handbags and dead guinea pigs. There were animal parts, cigars and steroids. Viagra from China and GBL, the date-rape drug, freshly arrived from Europe.
...and much, much more in the photo essay Simon produced for CNN with a team of observers working 24 hours a day for five days:
"Handbag, Louis Vitton (disguised) (counterfeit)"
"US American Visagra," aka fake Chinese-made Viagra
"GBL, Poland, used as a date rape drug," disguised as Pure Cleaner
"Heroin," smuggled out of India, on/in some unidentified object
"Percussion pistol, Enfield 1858," from Afghanistan (unlicensed)
"Bootleg Lost: Season 4 DVDs"