Faces of Freedom art exhibit opens Jan. 11
In observance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, “Faces of Freedom: Voices Calling for the End of Modern Day Slavery” traveling portrait exhibit opens Jan. 11.
Faces of Freedom raises awareness about the realities and effects of human trafficking and other forms of violent oppression in the world today. The exhibit celebrates human trafficking survivors and presents opportunities to engage people in learning more about this form of modern day slavery.
The exhibit is making its way to Montana through the Freedom 58 Project thanks to the support of Soroptimists International - Whitefish. Faces of Freedom features 14 original artworks depicting people rescued and restored from sex trafficking. Each portrait was carefully selected to speak to the theme of the international plight of human trafficking. The artists are from the West, and include photographer Bonnie Sanders, a Montana State University graduate. The kick-off event takes place January 11, 2017 at noon on the third floor of the State Capitol. Attorney General Tim Fox will speak, as well as representatives from Freedom 58 and Soroptimists International - Whitefish.
“Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that occurs all over the world, including here in Montana,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “No matter where this crime happens, the common denominator is that its victims have lost their freedom. My office is pleased to partner with Soroptimists International - Whitefish and the Freedom 58 Project to bring these powerful portraits of human trafficking survivors to Montana. We invite the public to see these beautiful paintings and reflect on the real-life journeys of their subjects as they move from oppression to rescue, and ultimately, to justice and freedom.”
Diane Yarus of Soroptimists International – Whitefish, said, “Soroptimists International - Whitefish is proud to partner with the Montana Department of Justice to address this crime in our communities. The Altria Group honored our human trafficking awareness efforts by awarding us a grant that helped us bring this extraordinary art exhibit to our state, allowing us to raise awareness and stimulate community conversations about how to protect our citizens from this criminal enterprise.” Yarus added that Soroptimists International launched STOP Trafficking in 2007 to raise community awareness of sexual slavery.
The program has evolved to include a multi-dimensional approach to end sex trafficking, including assisting victims, preventing sexual slavery, and advocating for better laws and enforcement.
It is estimated that nearly 21 million people are enslaved around the world.