I recently had the privilege of participating in a group show/event created by The Blind Project, (a non-profit that helps empower survivors of sex trafficking in Southeast Asia) and DACS (Designers Against Child Slavery).
A few designs were selected to be screenprinted on t-shirts which would
be produced by the women who have come out of trafficking. Please consider supporting The Blind Project and these women by purchasing one of
In addition, prints of these designs were available for purchase via silent auction at the event. I am pleased to announce that the auction was a success! The proceeds benefitted TBP's efforts in helping these women acquire marketable job skills in fashion design, production as well as employ them in a positive work environment. It was truly rewarding to join forces with fellow artists to help those in desperate situations.
Aside from a t-shirt design, I was also honored to create a series of portraits depicting some of the trafficking survivors who have worked with The Blind Project in Bangkok, Thailand. My goal was to illustrate them in a simple, honest way—hoping they would be encouraged by their own beauty if they ever saw the pieces themselves.
Working on this project taught me much about the very dark world of trafficking. The biggest misconception about this industry is that it's a victimless crime. In fact, everyone—from the individuals forced into prostitution, to their families, to the "customers" who pay for sex—is damaged in some shape or form.
Another lie is that women willingly choose the path of trafficking for themselves. Often under the weight of serious threats, fear, financial pressures, or manipulation, broken-spirited women find it difficult to escape this vicious cycle.
Behind the smiles run scars deep beneath the surface.
My hope is that our artistic contributions, the work of organizations like The Blind Project and hearts that break over these atrocities will aid individuals to continue escaping the painful cycle of trafficking—and begin new lives of gradual restoration.