Journey exposes sex trafficking world

11-11-journey(pg8)_jpg_180x0_q8511-11-journey(pg1)_jpg_180x0_q85Alex Denker

Michael Bloomberg, Emma Thompson open ‘provocative’ exhibit

Many people know Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee or Professor Sybil Trelawney from the Harry Potter films. But yesterday the British actress took a break from film and joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYU President John Sexton outside the Silver Center to open an art installation intended to raise awareness about sex trafficking.

The exhibition, titled “Journey,” is installed inside seven industrial crates, set up on the south side of Washington Place. Each crate takes viewers through a range of emotions that sex slaves feel throughout their journey, ranging from hope to desperation.

Viewers begin in a crate where they can look into a small hole and see figurines depicting the childhood of a girl prior to being trafficked. Another crate recreates the typical living quarters of the prostitutes. The phrase “help me” is scrawled on one mirror; another keeps a tally of the number of “men served” that day. The journey ends in a dark room that symbolizes what the victims feel and gives viewers an opportunity to reflect on what they have just seen.

Thompson, who is also an environmental activist, pioneered the installation in hopes of raising awareness about the crimes committed against women forced into sex trafficking. During a press conference before the opening of the exhibition yesterday morning, Thompson described the current state of the human trafficking world as being on a “hidden, domestic street level.”

Thompson said she hopes the exhibition will encourage viewers to empathize with victims of trafficking.

“I want people to know for five minutes — five minutes — what it’s like,” she said.

Bloomberg also hopes the installation raises awareness.

“Isn’t this something we should sweep under the rug?” he said. “I don’t think so. Too many people are enslaved.”

Helen Bamber, creator of human rights organization the Helen Bamber Foundation, described the situations the victims often face.

“The women are beaten, raped and starved into submission,” Bamber said.

During the press conference, Sexton discussed NYU’s involvement in the project.

“Great universities always lean forward and touch the provocative,” he said, adding that the exhibition is effective because it “takes us most out of our comfort zone through art.”

Students who attended the conference and viewed the exhibition said they were impressed with its objective.

“I think this is a really good opportunity to let students know what is going on outside of their lives,” Stern junior Hannah Kim said.

The exhibition is open to the public until November 15.

source: http://nyunews.com/news/2009/nov/11/journe

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  1. […] Novembre 16, 2009 di inewyork La cosa bella di New York (“E bastaaa!!” Direte voi “Ma ci sono solo cose belle a New York??”) e’ che dovunque ti giri puoi trovare un’opera d’arte. E non parlo solo delle gallerie di Soho o dei graffiti sui muri nel Lower East Side. Parlo di tutte le manifestazioni temporanee in cui ci si imbatte quotidianamente, come ad esempio quella che abbiamo visto ieri a Washington Square Park. Sette container, ognuno con sopra una lettera fino a comporre la parola JOURNEY, viaggio, portavano i passanti a scoprire il terribile viaggio di sofferenza subito dalle donne costrette alla prostituzione. L’iniziativa, ideata e creata dalla Helen Bamber Foundation (associazione per la tutela dei diritti umani), e’ stata supportata dal sindaco Bloomberg, dall’attrice inglese Emma Thompson (la professoressa Sibilla Cooman di Harry Potter) e dall’NYU. Siccome il traffico sessuale e’ ancora poco discusso ma molto presente, la mostra voleva trasportare i visitatori all’interno della vita delle sfortunate ragazze, facendo provare emozioni molto dure e di angoscia. Inutile mentire: purtroppo siamo arrivati troppo tardi e stavano gia’ smantellando il tutto. Ma per fortuna che c’e’ internet! Ecco qui un resoconto dettagliato di come la mostra appariva a chi voleva avventurarsi all’interno: Journey Exposes Sex Trafficking World . […]


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