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Unwraping the Truth: Art Installation tours Ireland to raise awareness of Human Trafficking

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12/05/2017

The Gift Box is a walk-in sculpture designed to raise awareness of human trafficking, a grave violation of human rights. This installation has toured in seven countries and been visited by tens of thousands of people around the world.

In March, APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking) partnered with the Loreto Sisters to bring the Box to Ireland and tour several locations around Ireland. Presentation Sisters, Angela Dolan and Ann Pender are members of APT and were involved in planning this very unusual tour.

The aim of the project was to inform the public about the reality of the crime of trafficking and to encourage them to take what action they could to combat it.

At each of eight locations nationwide, APT members and some volunteers met the passers-by, spoke of trafficking, invited them into the Box to read the stories of those trafficked and distributed informative leaflets.

Evidence shows that the most prevalent form of human trafficking in Ireland is for sexual exploitation, controlled by organised criminal gangs who make tens of millions of profits every year. The majority of these victims are women and children.

There were a number of logistical issues that incurred some headaches! The Gift Box is a heavy structure which had to be assembled at each location and secured in its trailer each night. A special driver was required to tow the trailer from each location to the next and strong helpers to erect and dismantle the box.

An Garda Siochana, the Dept. of Justice and local authorities supported the project and health and safety conditions and insurance had to be catered for also. This involved a lot of slow and complicated work. Volunteers to help ‘man’ the box were recruited and trained at each location. An ‘anchor’ person was in charge of each location so she/he had a very busy time planning, negotiating and finding willing helpers.

The project was a good opportunity to get people talking about the urgent issue of human trafficking. Raising awareness of this crime is the first step towards eradicating it and helping those who are victimised. We were impressed and pleased at the interest shown and the gratitude expressed in the streets for drawing attention to this abuse of human rights. 

 

Ann Pender PBVM

 

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