An intense traveling art exhibit that aims to enlighten people about the horrors of sex trafficking has arrived in New York. Called "Journey," the installation consists of seven shipping containers with work by international artists intended to evoke the experience of being a sex trafficking victim. It opened yesterday on Washington Place, and will remain open through Sunday. This video shows the interior of one of the containers, in which Coco de Mer founder Sam Roddick recreates a room in a brothel:
The traveling exhibit is sponsored by the Helen Bamber Foundation, a UK-based human rights organization. This morning Actor Emma Thompson, who is chairwoman of the foundation, joined Mayor Bloomberg at a press conference to unveil the show. She told reporters she became involved in stopping human trafficking when she was introduced to a woman who had essentially been a slave at a massage parlor she passed daily. "I was mentally, completely excoriated by it," Thompson said.
At the press conference, Bloomberg announced a $2 million multilingual public advertising campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking. Starting in March, ads designed by NYU students will appear on buses, bus shelters and other media. The campaign's slogan is "It’s happening here," and will use languages specific toe foreign tongues of specific neighborhoods, including Arabic, Chinese, Haitian creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish. (The ad campaign will be funded by the private sector, and admission to the exhibit is free.)