Powerful exhibit against trafficking goes liveThe True Stories Project, an exhibition that aims to create awareness about and raise voice against exploitation and trafficking has begun at the Patan Museum.
The True Stories Project, an exhibition that aims to create awareness about and raise voice against exploitation and trafficking has begun at the Patan Museum. The three-week show was jointly inaugurated by US Embassy Kathmandu Charge d’Affaires Michael C Gonzales, founder of Shakti Samuha Charimaya Tamang and Sangeeta Thapa, director of Siddhartha Art Gallery.
Speaking during the event, Gonzales said, “We are focusing on our joint accomplishments on Countering Trafficking in Persons. This evening is just one of the several events highlighting our continued partnership.”
The exhibition seeks to bring to light the issue of how human sex trafficking has become the fastest growing business in organised crime and the third largest criminal enterprise in the world. The exhibition, through art and artists, will give voice to the vulnerable population that is either at risk or already has been victim of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or gender-based violence, the organisers said. The project has been developed through a series of interactive workshops with young victims of sex trafficking and those at-risk for exploitation for a period of six months.
A statement released by organisers reveals an alarming data: “According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), more than 100,000 children are sold for sex in the United States each year. They range in age from nine years to 19; the average age of child sex workers in Oakland, California is 12 years.”
This worrying data forms the backdrop for two particular stories told in the exhibition—of girls who are worlds apart.
Debbie, a 15-year-old from Oakland is one of the victims featured in the exhibit. She represents the tens of thousands of young American girls and boys who are abducted for sex slavery.
Another story is that of Sita, also a 15-year-old, who hails from a small village devastated by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Displaced and vulnerable, she is an easy target for human traffickers who supply to a network of brothels across South Asia. But, hers is not an isolated case—she is just one of many young girls and women who fall victim to markets of sex trade in the region. Data reveals that an estimated 15,000 Nepali girls are victims of sex trafficking each year.
The exhibition, the organisers say, hence tries to expose the stories of exploitation and abuse to the public by bringing gender-based objectification, mythology and exploitation to the fore. The exhibition will feature 17 artists from and outside Nepal and will see participation of seven national and international organisations working in the field.
Some of the featured artists include, Hit Man Gurung, Sujan Chitrakar, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Ang Tsherin Sherpa, Thomas L Kelly and Marilyn Minter.
Organised by Siddhartha Arts Foundation, in association with the US Embassy and Artworks for Change, the exhibition will continue till July 31.