I am writing to you today to let you know about an issue that is pressing, and one that is often overlooked: human trafficking. It is astonishing to me that there are more people enslaved right now than ever in human history, yet it barely ever makes its way to the news cycle.
Fortunately for me, an opportunity came my way to respond proactively when I was invited to join the Board of Directors of a small nonprofit which is approaching survivors of human trafficking through the arts, and having beautiful successes.
Crossing Point Arts: Bringing the Art to Survivors of Human Trafficking began providing workshops in all of the arts to survivors seven years ago, and they have reached nearly 4000 people in the NYC area, who were trafficked domestically and internationally. Their Teaching Artists help survivors to reclaim their once-silenced voices and start to heal from the ordeal of brutal exploitation, all the while learning to manage PTSD and develop long-term coping strategies. Still the only nonprofit in the US solely dedicated to providing workshops in the art to trafficking survivors, the metrics are showing real results.
A recent story that I was told by head of the organization (who is also a Teaching Artist) is about a young woman who was sex-trafficked by her parents from the time she was a toddler to age 26, when she finally broke free. After she ran away, she found art as the one sure anchor to manage her pain. The abuse, manipulation, violence and distortion that was her earlier life began to shift. Now, with the support of our Teaching Artists, she knows that picking up her paint brush is literally her lifeline. She has come to redefine her value, and explore her talents. In her words: “Art gives me the opposite of what the exploitation did to me. It shows me my value and makes me know I can be whole. When I think I am going to drown in the pain, art brings me back.”
This is just one of thousands of stories. And their relationship to healing are strikingly similar. Art does so much for all of us, particularly people who have suffered severe trauma.
I am telling you all of this with the hope that you will help me find channels of support for this valiant, yet growing nonprofit. Would it be possible for us to explore who in your circle might be of help to Crossing Point Arts?