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Human trafficking performance, panel to raise awareness of problem

 On Tuesday, Jan. 28, Ohio University will hold a showing of “A Thousand Hands A Million Stars,” followed by a panel on human trafficking. 

“A Thousand Hands A Million Stars” is a performance piece that showcases survivors’ journeys through human trafficking. The event is sponsored by the College of Fine Arts, Health Promotion, Survivor Advocacy Program and the Women’s Center. The Women’s Center hopes to shine light on the invisible victims of this crime and to promote the power of mindful healing.

The performance piece raises awareness in its own way. Through movement, the performance is able to empathize and support survivors. This is an all-female artists collaboration and involves poetry, music, dance and art.

To many, human trafficking is a serious problem. Sex trafficking can sometimes be the first thing that comes to mind for many people, but trafficking for physical labor to create sweat shops is just as common. 

It is common for victims to be trafficked by people that they know, such as friends or family. And once someone is accustomed to this way of life, it can be incredibly difficult to leave. To Stokes, despite the fact that these people were trafficked against their will, the justice system sends them to jail before recovery or treatment, which often proves to be even more detrimental. 

“We need to be getting people into treatment before jail,” Patty Stokes, a women’s, gender and sexuality studies assistant professor, said. “That should be prioritized.”

Stokes believes the mistreatment of victims is largely due to the patriarchy creating the narrative of victim blaming. She does not support the criminalization of people who are victims. 

Talking about taboo subjects, such as human trafficking, is crucial to fixing the problem. To many, awareness is the easiest and most successful way to move toward a solution. 

“We get so wrapped up in our society that we forget things are happening,” Claire Milano, a sophomore studying journalism, said.

Many people get too consumed by what they believe is going on in the world that they forget to notice problems much bigger than themselves. The panel and performance are meant to help remind the audience that they have the power to make a difference simply by using their voice.

“We need to keep talking about it [human trafficking],” Mallory Mullins, a sophomore studying health services and administration, said. “Awareness is how we will prevent future tragedies.”


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