Artifacts of Human Trafficking Exhibit Captures Raw Emotions of the Sex Trafficking Industry in the United States

February 16, 2018

Media Contact: Eric M. Eckert, 254-710-1964
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WACO, Texas (Feb. 16, 2018) – When you first walk into Baylor University's Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, all appears normal. Bright lights. Colorful flags. Students filling the lobby.

Then you turn the corner.

To right of the lobby, the walls are concealed by art depicting darkness, seclusion, pain and suffering.

The "Artifacts of Human Trafficking" exhibit is designed to draw attention to human trafficking in Texas. According to the Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state, including nearly 79,000 minors and youth victims of sex trafficking and nearly 234,000 adult victims of labor trafficking.

"Whether we want to admit it or not, people are bought, sold and smuggled like modern-day slaves right here in Waco, not in just far-away places," said Jon Singletary, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Work.

From Feb. 12 to March 16, the School of Social Work will host the art exhibit, created by Austin artist Amie Stone King, in the second floor lobby. The exhibit features pieces from artists around the world and illustrates themes of isolation, captivity and desperation.

"My goal with this project is to open a door through art, encouraging people to consider the physical, emotional and spiritual impact of sex-slavery while spotlighting the deep and distorted realities of this pervasive industry, empowering the public to shine a light into the darkness and not be afraid to look," King said.

The gallery features paintings, sculptures, illustrations and photographs. Prominent in the center of the exhibit is a "seclusion room." Attendees are invited to enter the small space and experience a glimpse of what a life of captivity is like.

Each piece differs significantly in style, medium and message. However, one thing flows through every piece: the theme of darkness.

Human trafficking is a topic that people often avoid and overlook, King said. Whether this is a result of fear, discouragement or unawareness, artists seek to expose the taboo topic one illustration at a time.

"Art walks a fine line when dealing with a taboo subject," King said. "How do you welcome people into a space, call them to action through emotion and then leave them equipped with the tools needed to be part of the solution?"

The gallery is located on the second floor of the School of Social Work, 811 Washington Ave., and is free and open to the public. Guests are required to follow the call instructions posted on the front door for entry. An artist reception will be held from 4-5 p.m. on Feb. 22. For more information, visit the School of Social Work website.

by Brooke Battersby, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Baylor University's Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda focused on the integration of faith and practice. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (B.S.W.), a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree and three joint-degree options, M.S.W./M.B.A., M.S.W./M.Div. and M.S.W./M.T.S., through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. program. Visit to learn more.