- A new mural, sponsored by Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center, will take human trafficking awareness on the road.
- Traffickers are drawn to rural areas because of limitations including geographical composition and financial vulnerabilities, according to STAC.
- Watch the video to find out the mission of the mural and when it's coming to your neighborhood.
Using art to prompt important and challenging conversations about human trafficking. Why this piece of artwork is going on the road to raise awareness about human trafficking in the Big Bend.
Symbols of freedom, community, and autonomy.
"We're trying to bring all of us together to tackle these issues together," said Nipa Thakkar Eason, the artist who created the mural.
She has included symbols to represent different factors in a survivor's journey including the strength of community collaboration and hope.
"The dandelion which we're making this wish and blowing on it for our community to be better and do better," said Nipa.
STAC said the accompanying Desmond Tutu quote also encompasses their focus on prevention, intervention, and education.
"We're trying to find ways to talk about human trafficking in a way that lifts the community up," said Nipa.
So STAC are taking the mural on a road trip around the Big Bend. Robin Hassler-Thompson with STAC explained they will host Community Conversations in our Big Bend counties, using the mural as a jumping off point.
She said the goal is to engage with more rural area and as they have more limitations.
"Research shows that rural areas are sometimes ignored completely," said Hassler-Thompson, "but we know that anywhere where there's a vulnerability or a need a trafficker will go there to exploit that need."
Hassler-Thompson said they'll ask the community to share what human trafficking looks like in their neighborhood, including strengths and areas for improvement.
"It will help focus policy makers, local governments, foundations to say yeah this is a problem here, we need to direct our resources to support it," said Hassler-Thompson.
Community collaboration is a crucial approach that's been highlighted by many agencies throughout my coverage of human trafficking in our community. STAC's new initiative builds on the previous work that's occurring in our community to address this issue.
Hassler-Thompson said these conversations will also drive STAC's future work in these areas.
"Really fortify ourselves with knowledge and then we fortify the community with resources and help," said Hassler-Thompson.
The first Community Conversations will be held at 621 Gallery on February 20th. It will then make stops in Wakulla, Franklin, Liberty, Gadsden, and Jefferson Counties throughout the year.