JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Edward Waters College presents “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking,” an outdoor exhibit made up of 26 billboard-sized panels that tell the stories of human trafficking survivors worldwide.
The piece comes to the campus by way of ArtWorks for Freedom. The non-profit organization partners with artists and anti-trafficking organizations in cities around the world to create multimedia art events that focus attention and inspire action against this silent form of slavery. According to their website, 27 million people are trafficked globally, half of them are children. Florida ranks third in the U.S. for human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is an international crisis that begins in our own community. A large number of victims are lured into modern slavery through force, fraud or coercion. Awareness can reduce the incidence of human trafficking in our community and beyond,” said award-winning photographer and artist Kay Chernush.
In 2005 an assignment for the U.S. State Department brought her face to face with the evils of human trafficking and modern slavery. Chernush began working with individual survivors and anti-trafficking organizations. Her innovative approach dignifies trafficked persons and re-frames how their stories are portrayed. The resulting series, “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking, has been exhibited throughout the Netherlands and Singapore.
This is the first time this exhibit is on display in the United States. Edward Waters College is the first of three locations in Jacksonville to showcase the piece. Chernush wanted it to debut at Edward Waters College because of the College’s rich history of educating newly freed slaves. She hopes her piece will serve a similar purpose by educating others and eventually ending human trafficking.
Crystal Reed is a managing partner of Artworks for Freedom. She will be giving a presentation about the prevalence of human trafficking in Florida in the Milne Auditorium January 29th at 11:00 a.m. “I believe that “to whom much is given, much is required.” As a result, I left my work as a business litigation lawyer to dedicate my professional time, talent and treasure to working against the slavery that exists today. An old enemy with a new name – human trafficking – is more pernicious because its chains are invisible making the bondage easier to ignore, and its victims easier to silence,” said Freed. For more information about this initiative visit usa.artworksforfreedom.org.