Human Trafficking

Project Description

After attending a recent lecture series sponsored by the Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking, I developed an idea for a public awareness sculpture that would inform the viewer of the problem of human trafficking, how it affects lives in their city and give them opportunities to help fight trafficking in their city.  I would like to create a sculpture that will raise awareness in the public about the three types of human trafficking occurring in the United States:  Sex trafficking, labor trafficking and domestic servitude.  The sculpture will be moved from city to city and will have corresponding website where viewers can learn about specific human trafficking cases in their city and ways that donate their time and money to local partnering agencies/groups that fight human trafficking in that area.

Location

Prior to installing the sculpture in a city, the artist will partner with local agencies and groups in that area to update the website with information about human trafficking that is specific to that city.  This would include news stories about actual HT cases in that area, quotes from agencies and possibly victims- anything that will inform the viewer that HT is occurring in that city.  The agencies will assist in finding locations and with permitting when necessary.  The website will give information specifically about how viewers can be involved fighting human trafficking in their town through those agencies/groups.

The sculpture consists of 15-30+ life size silhouettes of victims of human trafficking.  The sculpture is not confined to particular location; rather the individual silhouettes of the sculpture will infiltrate the city in which it is installed.  Some figures will be out in the open, others tucked into the shadows.  The figures will be found through the city.  Like the people they represent, they may be easily passed by at first.  But after seeing one and another and another, the viewer is moved to investigate.  The faces and expressions are muted by a QRcode.  The inquisitive viewer may scan the code, which will take them via their smartphone to a website that describes the story of a victim of human trafficking in their city.

This installation will be appearing in multiple cities.  Check back often for scheduled cities.

Scheduled Cities:

  • Gainesville

Labor Trafficking

Labor Trafficking is represented in the field installation, a gathering of 10-15 (possibly more) figures that include men, women and children laboring in a field setting.  The labor trafficking installation takes on similar qualities to that of a cemetery, with the figures frozen in time, represented by shadows of their lives in slavery. It may serve as a memorial to the countless unknown victims of trafficking.

Sex Trafficking, Domestic Servitude - Figures representing sex trafficking and domestic servitude will be installed separate from each other, tucked into various spots around the city where people will encounter them as part of their everyday lives.  One might be outside the grocery store or the coffee shop.  Another could be outside a doctor’s office or a school.  They will not be hidden, but they will not be the center of attention.  They should blend in with the surroundings in scale and form.  I hope that the scale of these figures and their presence in the landscape of the viewers’ neighborhood setting will encourage viewers to reflect on how they might see a potential victim in their own lives, hidden in plain sight.

Each individual figure is formed to the scale of the victim it represents, cut from 2 identical aluminum pates.  The two plates will be anchored in a slightly open position, like opening a card so that it stands on a table.  On the outside, their faces are obscured by the QR code, in essence, making them a commodity.  The figures do not have defining features beyond their silhouettes, but the inside of the plates will be brightly and colorfully painted.  The viewer will first see the plain, lifeless silhouette, but open closer viewing will see the beautiful painted inside, the potential of each figure shining through.  Each figure is anchored to its location by posts driven into the ground and a small chain attached to a small concrete weight in the ground.  The anchor and chain will be provided by the artist and will be simple to install and remove at closing.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Traveling Exhibition Sponsorship - This sculpture is designed to travel to many cities, raising awareness about human trafficking in each city.  It is expected that the sculpture will stay in a city for a minimum of three months.  While the sculpture is designed to be easily moved and installed, some costs will be incurred in shipping and in travel to develop relationships with the HT groups in each city.  Traveling exhibition sponsorship costs will depend on what cities are chosen.  Traveling sponsors may cite specific cities they would like to see included and budget will be developed based on shipping and traveling costs.  For large cities, it may be necessary to add additional silhouettes in order to effectively infiltrate the city.  Initially the sculpture will most likely move to larger cities in Florida and the southeast, but the sculpture could easily be installed anywhere in the US or even the World.   The traveling exhibition sponsor will be recognized in all print materials and the website specific to that city of sponsorship.

Thank you for your interest in human trafficking awareness and I hope to have the opportunity to speak with you further about this matter.