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PR- 488-09
November 10, 2009


Mayor’s Office Task Force Coordinates Local Response to Global Problem

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg,  Emma Thompson, and supporters of the Helen Bamber Foundation today opened “Journey,” a unique and provocative art installation depicting the journey typical of some women in the sex industry who are victims of human trafficking. Journey is comprised of seven shipping containers each telling the powerful and personal story of a woman who was trafficked into sexual slavery. Each container depicts a different stage of the brutal reality experienced by trafficked women. “Journey” is located on Washington Place, near Washington Square Park in Manhattan. The exhibit will be open from Tuesday, November 10th until Sunday, November 15.  In 2006, Mayor Bloomberg convened the New York City-Anti Human Trafficking Task Force, which coordinates the work of the police officers, prosecutors and service providers who combat the human trafficking that is depicted in the exhibit.

“Journey brings human trafficking out of the shadows and I hope its arrival in New York will raise awareness among New Yorkers of this heinous form of exploitation and help combat it,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our Administration has used coordinated enforcement, tough new laws, and partnerships with service providers to fight human trafficking. Our efforts are overseen by a task force of police officers, prosecutors, service providers, advocacy groups and academics, but public awareness is crucial to their success. That is why all of us welcome Journey and the unique attention it will bring this inhumane and criminal activity.”

“People just don’t want to know about this issue – it’s hidden, it’s criminal, it’s perverse and yes, it’s happening right on your own doorstep,” said Emma Thompson. “Journey is a remarkable piece of collaborative, creative and confrontational art that profoundly challenges people’s perspective.  Come and see it for yourself and then tell us if you agree.”

“Asking questions and broadening understanding is at the heart of a university's mission; that is why art - with its tendency to challenge assumptions and provoke thought - finds such a welcome home in a University environment,” said NYU President John Sexton. “Great cities need great universities to offer welcoming homes for important ideas. We’re very pleased that the first U.S. stop on this exhibition’s international tour will be readily available to the NYU community and our Greenwich Village neighbors.”

Mayor Bloomberg established the Anti Human Trafficking Task Force in 2006 to combat the growing problem of foreign and domestic human trafficking and to coordinate the efforts of the different entities that combat human trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. The efforts are overseen by the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Coordinator, John Feinblatt.

In cooperation with the task force, the Mayor’s Office has: partnered with enforcement entities to provide services to trafficking victims, including employees of massage parlors; conducted multiple citywide multidisciplinary training sessions; helped pass the groundbreaking New York State Anti-Trafficking law passed in 2007; created a resource directory which is available at 311 on line so service providers, counselors, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and victims all know the services that are available and how they can be accessed; awarded a contract to a service provider to house and counsel trafficking victims; and worked with the Administration for Children’s Services and the Office of Children and Family Services to establish placement facilities for children who are sexually exploited.

Special training sessions to recognize signs of trafficking and provide appropriate services have also been held for staff at the City’s Family Justice Centers. Family Justice Centers are run by the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence and borough district attorneys, and allow domestic violence victims to meet with a prosecutor, speak with a trained counselor, and apply for housing and financial assistance in one location and in one visit.

The Mayor’s Office, working under the direction of Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, is also coordinating a city-wide anti-human trafficking advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about human trafficking. The campaign was launched at the opening of the “Journey” exhibit. The advertisements were designed by students and mentors in the Graphic Communications Management and Technology program at NYU’s School of Continuing Professional studies.

The seven containers, each depicting a different stage of human trafficking, are entitled: Hope, Journey, Uniform, Bedroom, Customer, Stigma and Resurrection.

This piece has galvanized the artistic skills of a highly experienced and talented team assembled from a range of disciplines including: Turner Prize-winning artist, Anish Kapoor; internationally acclaimed artist, Antony Micallef; Oscar-winning costume designer, Sandy Powell; one of Britain’s leading artists, MODE2; BAFTA-nominated Art Director, Michael Howells; playwright, Simon Stephens; photographer, James Ostrer; Royal graphic designer, Mike Dempsey; V&A award-winning illustrator, Laura Carlin; trafficked woman, Elena Varga and Lifetime Achievement Award-winner in Human Rights, Helen Bamber OBE. 

The hours of operation are: Tuesday, November 10th – Friday, November 13th from Noon through 8:00 PM; Saturday, November 14th from 11:00 AM through 7:00 PM; and Sunday, November 15th from 10:00 AM through 3:00 PM.

Journey is produced in partnership with the City of New York and the City of London.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Christina Stejskal (PMK/HBH Public Relations)   (212) 373-6115

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