Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking – Visit ‘Sold’ Exhibit This Weekend
Liam Neeson's film 'Taken' was the first introduction many of us had to the crime of human trafficking. As disturbing as the film is, it was still made by Hollywood. Kennewick resident Krista Hanson said she was first exposed to the reality of human trafficking a few years ago when showed a blog by an undercover journalist. He had visited a brothel where little girls sat in dresses watching cartoons while pedophile men "ordered" them from a menu. It haunted her for weeks. She couldn't sleep. She realized she had to do something to help. But what?
Hanson and two friends, Amber Bruce and Jessica MacFarlan, began working on creating an exhibit to educate everyone in the Tri-Cities about what is going on and what can be done to help. The project took more than $22,000 and 1,500 hours of volunteer time to come together, but it is finally done. The exhibit opens this Friday at 4 p.m. and runs through May 20. It is 640 square feet of multi-sensory experiences split into 12 different rooms showing nine kinds of human trafficking experienced in eight different countries (including in the U.S.).
"It can be for labor or sex. There are many different forms of it," Hanson said.
Because many victims are sex slaves, the content in the exhibit is not recommended for children under age 13 and parents are warned there is mature content.
The purpose of the exhibit is to educate, Hanson explained, so the experience is absolutely free.
Bethel Church at 600 Shockley Road in Richland is hosting 'Sold' in its gymnasium from 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. The goal is to be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, but they may expand the hours if there is demand.Weekdays prior to 4 p.m. are possible with an appointment, Hanson said.
Attendees are encouraged to block out at least an hour to see everything.
This Friday and Saturday only a human trafficking survivor from Bangladesh will be on hand to answer questions and tell her story in the "Healing Room."
Attendees are encouraged to bring smart phones or video cameras and record what they experience and feel and then share through social media.
For more information visit www.soldexperience.com
If anyone would like to host the exhibit outside of the Tri-Cities after the 20th, Hanson welcomes them to reach out to her through Bethel Church. Because of the difficulty in transporting the exhibit, she can only loan it to communities within an hour's drive. However, anyone anywhere can borrow the script and designs from the creators and build their own version of 'Sold,' Hanson said.