Human trafficking prevention through art

Art is important in society. It communicates across barriers of language and culture, especially for young students where art has the power to inspire, raise awareness and give a new experience. Washburn University is currently exhibiting an art display for Human Trafficking Awareness, which is currently being hosted on the main level of Memorial Union from Jan. 22 to Jan. 31. 

Becky Bolte, director of the Memorial Union and organizer of the event, believes the art gallery relates to more things than simply art. 

“The motive of this art gallery is to encompass more things besides just an art piece that provokes people to think about the issues happening in the world,” said Bolte. “We want to display real issues like the last ‘Art for Thought’ event we organized where veterans on campus exhibited their art work about their experience in military.” 

Bolte explained this year’s plan for organizing the “Art for Thought” exhibit every month.

“Its National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention awareness month,” said Bolte. “We worked with the women studies department, YWCA and the counseling department to present the art display about human trafficking and slavery and how to stop it.”

Human Trafficking is a modern day slavery, in which 80 percent of its victims are female. Exploitation like this affects both mental and physical health of the victims. There has been a huge increase in human trafficking and slavery around the world in these recent years, and it has become the second largest criminal activity, after illegal drug trade. This art exhibition is a platform to raise awareness and inform people and students in depth about human trafficking and its consequences. 

Aesha Uyz, biology major, thought the display was very informative.

“This is a really eye-opening display,” said Uyz. “It was a very informative presentation We hear about human trafficking in news but it’s high time we should take some action to prevent it.”

The gallery put on view of bright flyers and various statistical articles which portrayed all the information about the topic, including prevention tips of trafficking and raising consciousness in victims. It also clarifies the difference between trafficking and smuggling. The committee has also mentioned a number to report if students or staff witness any suspicious activity related to this crime. 

Paritosha Joshy, junior mass media major, thinks that the art display is impactful and people should visit it. 

“Slavery and trafficking are a human crisis, and we must recognize it and confront it,” Joshy said. “Just because it’s not happening to us doesn’t mean that this issue is not prevalent.” 

The Art for Thought committee partnered with Washburn Black Student Union on campus, and will be featuring Black History month in February at Washburn. The art will be focusing on the past and present to display a thought-provoking exhibit. 

Overall, events like this promote awareness among students and helps motivate them to take an action against such immoral activities. Raising awareness can save millions of lives.