On behalf of our entire Beauty for Freedom team we'd like to thank SEAD Gallery and Bookshop in Bryan, Texas for hosting an incredible Curator Talk, Q&A and book launch! We have been inspired beyond words at how our beautiful Texas communities are supporting our cause and Illuminate. Thanks so much to everyone who came out in support of our cause and the amazing youth we serve.
Produced by NYC-Based 501 (c)(3) non-profit Beauty for Freedom, “ILLUMINATE”, photography book, is a collection of photographs created by young survivors of trafficking and at-risk youth in India that engaged the youth to visualize their community of Kalighat—West Bengal, Kolkata, India (red light district) in an empowered way. During our Beauty for Freedom photography workshop with the youth, we promoted self-esteem and self-expression and “Illuminate” is a reflection of that. Proceeds from the published books will provide funds to Kolkata, India based non-profit New Light and our Beauty for Freedom travel abroad arts therapy programming.
This past October, our Beauty for Freedom team traveled to Kolkata and taught a 3-week arts therapy intensive program featuring photography, fashion, painting and mural-making courses to over 100 survivors of trafficking and at-risk youth. The over 5000 images the youth shot culminated in a beautiful book “Illuminate” which we are publishing with 50% of the proceeds being donated to the Kolkata-based NGO and 50% of the proceeds going back into our art therapy programming. These amazing youth are empowered by the fact that their work could possibly sustain their educations for the next year.
India and Human Trafficking
Experts estimate millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India.
Almost 20,000 women and children were victims of human trafficking in India in 2016, a rise of nearly 25 percent from the previous year.
West Bengal is the most unsafe place for women and girls in India. It tops the list of states where the highest number of cases against women and girls are registered. India alone is home to 40 percent of the world’s estimated over 45.8 million slaves.
Survivors of trafficking are not truly free until they are free of the trauma. Globally, there is an increased need of services for survivors including art therapy.
Art therapy can cover various forms, from drawing to photography to painting and fashion design and many grassroots organizations like Beauty for Freedom are leading the charge in implementing this programming into their platforms, but despite extensive research by therapists and academics, it has been excluded from policies and advocacy material of most NGOs.
For more information and to support "Illuminate", please visit our website at beautyforfreedom.org/illuminate/