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 Sylvia Lee in Singapore.


“Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking” on exhibit during the 2012 ArtWorks for Freedom Campaign in Singapore, in partnership with EmancipAsia.

SYLVIA LEE began her career as a chemical engineer and worked in the corporate sector for 30 years before deciding to dedicate herself full time to the cause of ending human trafficking. Using her corporate skills of management, planning, strategy and organization, Sylvia founded EmancipAsia, a non-governmental organization in Singapore whose mission is to combat human trafficking by raising awareness, advocating change and empowering communities, businesses and individuals to take action.


After a mutual friend introduced Sylvia to ArtWorks Founder Kay Chernush, she made the photo exhibit “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking” a core feature of an awareness campaign throughout Singapore. The first exhibit was installed for nine weeks as part of a major awareness campaign that included an ArtWorks’ sponsored film series, symposium and noted speakers. Four years later, the campaign continues and has moved to 50 venues throughout Singapore including the airport, hospitals, universities, main libraries, shopping malls and schools. Additionally, EmancipAsia has developed additional tools to prevent human trafficking, including a recently launched survey that raises awareness about trafficking in food supplies.

Sylvia Lee & Kay Chernush with EmancipAsia volunteers.

Sylvia Lee & Kay Chernush with EmancipAsia volunteers.


Today in Singapore, people talk about what they see. EmancipAsia and ArtWorks have helped bring the issue of trafficking to the surface, particularly in Singapore, which is a destination travel country. “Slowly, people are starting to talk about the issue. It’s rewarding when people stop to thank me or ask me to come and show the work…it’s such a gloomy issue that people say they don’t want to know about it, but we have to get past that hurdle.”


Thanks to Sylvia Lee 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!