By Elizabeth Willoughby on
Actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson has lent her face and time to support the Journey installation, which recently appeared in front of London’s National Gallery and is now headed to other locations.
Journey’s seven rusty shipping containers, the kind also used for trafficking people, lined Trafalgar Square for a week last month. Each container was curated by a different artist, and each depicts elements in the life of a London sex slave, Elena, sold for £500 ($1,000 US) in Lithuania to traffickers, and then forced to serve 20 to 30 clients a day. Visitors to the installation leave at least disturbed, if not unnerved.
Created to bring attention to the work of the Helen Bamber Foundation, an organization that offers therapeutic treatment to those traumatised by violence and abuse, the installation came from Thompson’s friendship with Elena, one of Bamber’s clients. Thompson offers her studio for yoga and pilates to clients from the foundation.
“They come through a lot, and we have volunteers who teach drums and guitar. It’s part of their physical rehabilitation. I get to know people and we talk, and some people you make friends with,” Thompson says. “Our engagement with people who have suffered is full of riches. Our curiosity needs to be engaged instead of pity. We need engagement rather than charity.”
It is the goal of Journey to raise awareness about sex trafficking, and the fact that the UK has become the prime destination for trafficked women and girls. Its other goal, of course, is to raise funds for the Helen Bamber Foundation for the rehabilitation of victims. The foundation in particular wants the UK to sign up to the Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking.
Journey is due to go on tour to Glasgow, Liverpool, and hopefully eastern Europe.
Copyright © 2007 Look to the Stars