“The US Department of State explains that human trafficking is an umbrella term used when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service.” (Varga and Weaver 10)
Human trafficking is an international crime violating human rights that generates vast profits, by turning millions of people around the world into human slaves.
Much of the western world are unaware of this crime occurring because of the lack of media attention, It is only recently where the United Nations have chosen to start bringing attention to this crime through awareness campaigns which I have looked at for ideas through this project. O’Brien brings attention to this in her journal article in Social & Legal Studies, “Since the declaration by the United Nations that awareness raising should be a key part of efforts to combat human trafficking, government, and non-government organizations have produced numerous public awareness campaigns designed to capture the public’s attention and sympathy.” (O’Brien, Erin)
I have created this installation as a visual activism towards the issue of awareness of human trafficking. As consumers in the western world, we believe that we play no part in this. However, when the western world consumer demands more from international companies such cheap goods and services for our money, they are forced into turning to lower economically developed countries where sources of food and clothing material are the cheapest and fastest option. This is where it is highly likely that the people working for them could be trafficked people, forced into the labour industry.
From an outsiders perspective, I believe that there is not enough awareness about this issue for any type of change to be made. My audience for this installation is the general public, as anyone, at any time is susceptible to being affected whether it be directly or indirectly by human trafficking.
As a representation of the 35 million people captive through human trafficking at this current time, I have placed a real life story from survivors on 35 different bricks.
At first sight, these stories blend into the wall, much like the human trafficking crime blends into society and is not represented by international media.It isn’t until you notice the blue brick (blue, the colour of human trafficking awareness programmes) where you are drawn in to read these horrific stories, showing how easy it is to walk past this issue and continue with your everyday life.
The purpose of this installation is to raise awareness to the general public about what is going on around them, but is ‘blending into the walls.’ I believe that the only way that there is going to be successful change to this human rights violation is if people are aware of this topic.
Mirzoeff brings attention to this in his last chapter, “In visual activist projects, the is an alternative visual vocabulary emerging. it is collective and collaborative… all in the service of a vision of making a change… Visual activism is the interaction of pixels and actions to make a change” (Mirzoeff, Nicholas 297)
O’Brien, Erin. “Human Trafficking Heroes and Villains.” Social & Legal Studies 20p 25.224 (Apr2016): 205-24. Massey University Library. Web. 7 June 2016.
Varga, Sue, and Sue Weaver. “Raising Awareness about Human Trafficking.”New Jersey Nurse 1p 43.4 (Oct2013): 10. Massey University Library. Web. 7 June 2016.