Translucent ‘people’ raise awareness of human trafficking

Posted on April 9, 2013

The tag on this figure cites a grim statistic.

Seven plastic figures around the Erskine campus April 9 served as a reminder that this was a day for “Shining a Light on Slavery” at colleges across the U.S. A number of Erskine students are responsible for creating and placing the figures, which are inspired by the End It Movement, launched in January to increase awareness of the contemporary scourge of human trafficking.

There are more slaves today—some 27 million—than at any other time in history, according to the End It Movement’s website.

Whitney Adkins, a sophomore from Stuarts Draft, Va., said the End It Movement began at the 2013 Passion conference at the Georgia Dome stadium in Atlanta. Atlanta is a leading hub for human trafficking. Some $3 million was raised to fund End It, designed as a short, intense awareness campaign. It is being undertaken with seven partner organizations.

Shining a light on slavery: “I am not for sale.”

“There are seven statues placed across campus, one for each of the End It Movement’s coalition partners,” Adkins said. “Each person has a price tag attached with facts about modern-day slavery.”

Each of the coalition partners exercises a different function in the fight against slavery. For example, ministries like International Justice Mission work underground to rescue people from slavery; Polaris sponsors a hotline for reporting trafficking activities; and some coalition partners serve as part of the restoration process for people who have been freed, enabling them to re-enter society.

Six people posed for the plastic ‘sculptures,’ with one of the six posing twice, Adkins explained. For each figure, a volunteer was bundled in plastic wrap, taped with clear packing tape and eventually cut out of the plastic case, which was then taped together again. Balloons were used to create heads for the figures. “It took over a mile of packing tape to make the seven sculptures,” Adkins said.

She said some people have said the project has definitely increased awareness of present-day slavery. Adkins said she has enjoyed watching students’ reactions. “Some people actually sat on a swing with one of the figures,” she said.

Students who posed for the figures or assisted with wrapping them included Adkins, Samantha Abbott, Chandler Adkins, Chelsea Ball, Parker Edison, Clara Formby, Ronnie Funk, and Rachel Talbot.

For more information about the fight against human trafficking, go to enditmovement.com