Thursday, December 03, 2009

"The Journey" unfolded

Sabrina shared the article below and video about Emma Thompson’s interactive art exhibit on Trafficking with me earlier this week noting the powerful images and suggesting it would be a good post for the blog (thanks Bina!). I’ve watched the piece several times and am amazed at the way the artists are able to bring life to these horrific stories of sex trafficking without losing the most powerful message, for me anyway and that message is hope.

If you have 5 minutes please watch the video of Emma Thompson who walks viewers through her brilliant project which shares a young woman’s personal story of sex trafficking.

Emma Thompson’s ‘Journey’ Exhibit Spotlights Sex Trafficking
Huffington Post 11/9/09

Two-time Academy Award-winning British actress Emma Thompson is focusing her attention on the issue of human trafficking of women and young girls by co-curating an interactive New York City art exhibit titled Journey.

In an interview with "Good Morning America," Thompson reveals that she got involved with the cause when she realized that trafficking wasn't just an international occurrence. She discovered it was a local phenomenon happening at a massage parlor down the street from her house. The aim of 'Journey' is to emphasize that prostitution in slavery and commercial sex is happens closer to home than many think -- sometimes literally around the corner.

Thompson remarks that in many ways, human trafficking is much easier to commit than dealing with drugs or weapons: "You can make $150,000 from one girl in a year...because moving people around the place is easier than moving guns around."

She explains that girls and women were often forced into the sex trade by a male relative or family friend who lured them out of the country with job offers. This was the case of Elena, a Moldovan girl who Thompson encountered in 2006 through her work with the Helen Bamber Foundation, an organization that helps abuse victims. Elena was led to the United Kingdom with the promise of a job as a receptionist, but was forced into the sex trade at age 19 after her passport was taken away once she entered the country.

It was partly due to her conversations with Elena that Thompson was moved to take on this project. The art exhibit uses seven shipping containers to chronicle the seven stages of a trafficked woman's experience. Thompson hopes that the exhibit helps people understand the plight of those forced to work in human trafficking, which numbers about 2.5 million individuals at any one time, according to the International Labor Organization.

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