Human trafficking is mostly associated with colonial times and Liam Neeson in the film Taken. However, human trafficking is also a serious issue in real life. An issue that many are unaware of. To raise awareness, the photo exhibition Open Your Eyes will grace our own campus from the 15th of November until the 12th of December.
The purpose of the thirty portraits, consisting of pictures and stories, is to convey the scale and diversity of human trafficking nowadays to the main public. The exhibition is a collaboration between CoMensha, foundation OPEN MIND and INTERVICT, and has been traveling through the Netherlands since the 22nd of September. In this way, the organizations want to bring attention to a fairly unknown subject.
Open your Eyes. It’s an eye-opener for sure. Abuse, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, one story even more shocking than the other. But perhaps it’s even more painful to see the things that have been taken from these people at such a young age. “All I want is a loving boyfriend and a normal life.” Mario and I don’t seem to be so different. Except that Mario was forced to have sex with men and was abused and exploited, while I’m standing here looking at his picture. It could’ve easily been the other way around.
The stories aren’t uplifting or cheerful. However, they do put my exam stress and my cold hands into perspective. Does that help Mario in any way? I highly doubt it. Still, on grim days like these, it’s not such a bad idea to stop for a minute and observe one of these portraits. Even if it’s just to remind yourself that your everyday problems might not be as disastrous as you think.