January is "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month," which continues Thursday with an author at Santa Ana Public Library sharing her memoir about being a modern day child slave. The commemoration also continues in and around the site of the 2015 Super Bowl in Phoenix, where stark, seven-foot-tall pink doll boxes are popping up.
Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Shared Hope International is erecting the displays with the message "Children Aren't Playthings." It went up Monday at Arizona State University's Tempe campus and moves to ASU's downtown Phoenix campus later this morning. Each day through Super Bowl Sunday, the boxes will be on view at Grand Canyon University, Glendale Community College and downtown. Saturday's stop is a Phoenix exhibit with Streetlight USA, a local organization aimed at stopping child sex trafficking, and the Scarlet Cord, an art installation by Pamela Alderman. Why there?
"Recent efforts by Arizona law enforcement, leaders and advocacy groups have targeted the anticipated increase in sex trafficking activities during the Super Bowl," Shared Hope explains. "The 'Children Aren't Playthings' doll box campaign is intended to challenge the dangerous objectification of prostituted individuals, including victims of child sex trafficking.
The exhibit was created by Brunner, a creative agency in Atlanta, "to offer a stark reminder that despite a trafficker's careful 'packaging' of child trafficking victims for sale, they are children," says the nonprofit, which claims child sex trafficking affects an estimated 100,000 American children each year.
One such child was Shyima Hall, the Hidden Girl author participating in the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month presentation from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Santa Ana Public Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza (Civic Center and Ross Street, Santa Ana).
Her memoir is about a young woman who lost her childhood to slavery in Egypt--and built a new life that brought her to Orange County. Hall will be interviewed by Maria Hall-Brown, who hosts the PBS series Bookmark, and participate in an expert panel facilitated by Sandra Morgan, director of the Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University.
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Check out the flier for the event on the next page ...