ArtWorks for Freedom campaigns raise awareness of human trafficking in local cities, towns and regions and empower local activist partners to raise the visibility of their work.

We are honored to share reflections from three of our past partners about the ripple effects of our campaigns in their communities. Here, we share the story of our partnership with Crystal Freed in Jacksonville, Fla.

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Crystal Freed, The Freed Firm

THE START

CRYSTAL FREED was an attorney who learned about human trafficking while in law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Moved by the yearning to protect human liberties, Crystal became an advocate for trafficked persons and dedicated her company, The Freed Firm, to preventing trafficking through legal services.

MEETING ARTWORKS

Crystal took her advocacy work to Jacksonville, Fla., and quickly realized she needed a way to reach people in a way that helped to make sense out of the the emotional intensity of human trafficking. Art became the perfect vehicle, and after meeting ArtWorks for Freedom’s founder Kay Chernush, the two began brainstorming on what would become the organization’s first large-scale, six-week human trafficking awareness campaign in North America.

ArtWorks for Freedom’s Jacksonville campaign included indoor and outdoor photography exhibits, a participatory theater experience with local actors, dance performances by student dancers and local choreographer, film screenings, noted speakers and art by survivors. The events were hosted at area colleges and universities, Jacksonville’s Downtown Vision Art Walk and the central library, and drew support from the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, as well as local civic and church groups.

Launch of “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking” outdoor installation at Hemming Plaza Art Walk during ArtWorks for Freedom’s human trafficking awareness campaign held in Jacksonville, FL Jan. 23-Feb. 28, 2014.

THE RIPPLE EFFECTS

A key outcome of the campaign was the public visibility it gave to the issue. “All of a sudden, the quiet work became public,” Crystal says. After the campaign, Crystal received Florida’s Community Advocate of the Year 2014 award, which she says gave her a bigger platform to raise awareness. She has also created a network of attorneys who represent trafficking survivors in Jacksonville so that when a survivor is identified, they are immediately able to connect to an attorney. The rewards of her efforts from knowing that she is directly impacting the lives of human trafficking survivors, and hopefully helping to prevent trafficking proliferation in the future.

“If all my work reaches only one person, it will be worth it.”

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Thanks to Crystal Freed and all of our partners for bringing ArtWorks for Freedom to their local communities. Interested in partnering with ArtWorks? Contact us and let’s get started!