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Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 2•

After the Holocaust, we said we’d never let it happen again. But what about Darfur or the children in Uganda? We failed. Again. Today a new crisis has reared its ugly head. Human trafficking is the second largest globally organized crime today. There are 27 million victims worldwide, but more than victims, they are slaves. We have a second chance, a small window of opportunity, to do something. Anything. For such a time as this.


[human trafficking] n. a. Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age b. The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. *A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another in order for the crime to fall within these definitions. **This definition is the U.S. Government’s official definition of trafficking within the United States.


More than 1/2 the victims around the world are under the age oƒ






the ƒacts





of victims are





79% of victims are subjected to sexual exploitation*

2006 United States victims who were certified or granted letters of eligability per geographical location.. 50



41% 41%


18% Asia



* This percentage does not represent the amount of undocumented forced labor victims and the sexually exploited.

Victims can be forced to service between



13% are girls

40 & 110

customers per DAY.

the Ć’acts

The cost of a slave in 1850 was $40,000 (in today's U.S. dollars), Currently, the average price of a slave is $90. There is a high incidence of forced labour used in about 29 countries to produce 50 products consumed or used on a daily basis including garments, shoes, toys, bricks, cotton, cocoa, and carpets. 6•



As many as people are trafficked into the United States annually.

goals My goal is to make a difference. The difference is not measured by number of prints sold. I hope to inspire you to help in whatever way suits your talents. We are on the verge of a global crisis, some would say we have already entered one. I want you to feel like you can make a difference. No amount of help is too small--but I want to challenge you to dream big. Step out of your comfort zone and act.








Esther 7:4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated...�

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issing erson Esther 2:2-4 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is

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Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

12 •


After the Holocaust we said we'd never let it happen again. But what about Darfur or the children in Uganda? We failed. Again. Today a new crisis has reared its ugly head. Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today. There are 27 million victims worldwide, but more than victims they are slaves. We have a second chance, a small window of opportunity, to do something. Anything. Help starts with us.

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esther&trafficking Esther A young woman, trying to provide for her family, searches for a job. She sees an ad for a waitress position on a bulletin board; it comes with benefits and plenty of money to cover her family's growing expenses. She interviews and is soon notified that she has received the position. She is very excited about this new opportunity. When she arrives at the agency, she is requested to present her passport. Her passport is taken and she is taken down the hall to be readied for her first day. She's stripped, drugged, and put into the back of a car-thrust into a life she never would have chosen. Unfortunately, this is the fate of many young women throughout the world. These women are nieces, sisters, daughters, and mothers. The goal of this project is to spread awareness to a population oblivious or unaffected by the horrors of human trafficking, to bring it close to home. It should also inspire change and ignite a spark that creates a real difference in the world. Esther is the medium for the message. Each year, during the Jewish festival of Purim, a scroll of the story of Esther is read. This scroll, known as the Megillah, recounts how a woman stood up and saved her people. Her voice could secured her death, but instead, it became living water to all who heard. This is her story. Long ago, in the land of Susa lived a powerful, yet evil, king. His name was 14 •

Xerxes, and he ruled with an iron fist. His wife, Vashti, was very beautiful, but was one of the first victims of Xerxes' selfish nature, Famous for his extravagance, he threw a huge party for the kingdom. Feasting and drinking were the main events. During one of the feasts, Xerxes decided to parade his wife before all the men, so they could drink her beauty along with his infinite supply of wine. Vashti refused to take part in this indignity, and her decision proved fatal. Vashti's decision caused Xerxes to make a change. He immediately decreed that all men held power over their households and their wives, The women were to do their husband's bidding, no matter the request. With the current queen gone, it was not customary for a Xerxes to be without a wife. He needed a young and more beautiful queen to take her place. All the maidens in the land were brought to the palace to participate in the pageant of a lifetime. They were captured from their families--even bethothed--to become property of the king. He held them in the palace and required them to take part in a year's worth of beauty treatments before he displayed them to the kingdom. Esther, a Jew, whose beauty stood out among the rest, was a favorite among the women and men. She was beautiful both inside and out, and managed to gain the respect of many officials in the palace. When the time came for Xerxes to choose, Esther

was the clear winner. Shortly after the pageant, a plot against the king's life was discovered by Esther's uncle, Mordecai. His help was recorded in the royal ledger. The act was largely gone unnoticed and business in the kingdom returned as usual. The king's advisor, Haman, was a very devilish man. He became jealous of Mordecai's success and sought do away with him. He ordered all of the subjects to bow down before him, but Mordecai refused. Haman took his revenge by convincing the king to decree that all the Jews must be slain. Their property would be given to Haman as payment for their disrespect. To choose the day of the massacre, Haman cast dice, known as Purim (the word for which the festival is named). The Jews were distraught and began to mourn by pouring ashes on their heads and wearing sackcloths. Mordecai sought counsel with Esther, and revealed to her of a plot by which she could save her people. He asked her to go into the court and speak to the king. This action alone could result in her death, because court entry is not allowed without prior inviation from the king. Esther entered on her own accord, and the king was happy to see her. He offered to give her anything her heart desired. She only desired that he accompany her at a banquet and bring Haman along. The king agreed. That night, during a fit of

sleeplessness, Xerxes read over the royal ledgers. He noted that Mordecai had all but saved his life, and he had not been adequately thanked. He asked Haman at court what he should do to thank the man who saved his life. Haman replied that the very highest honor in the kingdom should be bestowed upon a man who served his country so well. Xerxes agreed, and gave Mordecai his signet ring, Out of jealousy and rage that he had been overlooked, Haman rushed home and wept to his family.

were treated without respect and were used as a commodity or an item of leverage. "So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard and many young ladies were gathered to Susa the capital into the custody of Hegai..." [Esther 2:8]. The gathering of the woman without their consent represents an exact function of trafficking. Trafficking removes personal responsibility and places it in the hands of someone who is seeking to

can and work together to tackle the areas where they are best equipped. We need to be Esther in the modern world. "The Jews in the Diaspora are also in the position of the weak, as a subordinate population under the dominant Persian government. They must adjust to their lack of immediate political and economic power, and learn to work within the system to gain what power they can. In the book of Esther, their role model for this adjustment is Esther...With no

My goal is to make a difference. The difference is not measured by number of prints sold. I hope to inspire you to help in whatever way suits your talents. Xerxes and Haman joined Esther at the banquet just as she had requested. Xerxes once again told Esther she could have anything her heart desired. She asked only that her people be saved. The king issued a new edict, and the Jews were given permission to fight back.Thanks to Mordecai and Esther many lives were spared. This biblical book is unique in many ways. First, there is no mention of God throughout the entire book. Secondly, a woman is the protagonist. Thirdly, most pivotal to the cause at hand, it addresses many of the issues that help foster human trafficking. It illustrates the principle that dehumanization of a people group leads to injustices. Both the Jews and the women in the book of Esther

fulfill their own best interests. The events of Esther all take place within a relatively short window of time. Each action affected the next in an acute way. In the same way, human trafficking is a machine with many cogs functioning to keep it going. For example, people who lack basic necessities are more likely to take jobs that could lead to being trafficked because they are so desperate. Children of illegal immigrants are likely to be trafficked because there is no paper trail for police to follow, or parents are scared of deportation so they do not report their missing children. So many factors throughout the world contribute to trafficking, which makes it a very daunting cause to tackle. It is very important that people do what they can where they

native power of her own owing to her sex or position in society, Esther must learn to make her way among the powerful and to cooperate with others in order to make herself secure" [Fox, 210] We must assume the position of Esther and not let fear, lack of resources, or ambivalence get in the way of action. "Her very ordinariness suggests that ordinary people too can rise to the moment and take on unexpected strengths...The book of Esther links the issue of national salvation to human character." [Fox, 205] Our generation must rise to the occasion and end trafficking now. For such a time as this.

Trafficking There are more slaves today on earth than ever before in human history. Over 6 million people died during the Holocaust. People have spent decades wondering how something so terrible could have happened. It was simple. Once you take away someone's name, you take away their tie to humanity. They were literally stamped with a number for a reason, because they became that number and no longer a person. People think twice about killing another person, no one thinks twice about scratching off a number on a spreadsheet. Numbers do not have stories, dreams, or families. They are an entry of data, nothing more. This same dehumanization is the ideology of trafficking. It turns people into a statistic, one of the 27 million. Our society often feels so removed from the horrors of this industry, but the barrier between “us and them� is very small. If we were born in another country, in a different economic status, we could easily be a number, we could easily be lost. People are not numbers. They are living breathing human beings created with a purpose with just as much a right to life as we have. They were born, just as we were, without a choice as to what race, location, or family they would be born into. Why are they so different?

16 •

Because we have not met them yet? Because they are not our Facebook friends? Because we cannot follow them on Twitter? Everything changes when you meet one person who has been trafficked. One face can personalize the problem. Christine Caine, of the A21 organization says of a girl that she met in Greece, "She had been put in a shipping container with 59 other girls. They were to be shipped to Istanbul, but the oxygen tank was broken. Of the 60 girls, 30 made it to Istanbul alive. Those 30 were taken to an apartment and raped. Multiple times per day, the girls were raped, often by men in police uniforms to foster feelings of fear and distrust of authority. The girls were moved from the apartment to a boat to go to Greece. They were thrown overboard when the coast guard drove near. Of the 30, only 5 made it to Greece, where they were rescued by local authorities.. you could not make up a story like this." This is one story. One in 27 million. Yet, we as Americans, still sit in our comfy homes and complain about gas prices, while women are being shipped-literally--all over the world.

You say, "I have compassion." What have you done about the situation.. "Compassion is never compassion until you cross the street and do something about it. It's never compassion until you actively get involved and allow yourself to be interrupted. " - Christine Caine.

You ask, "What can I do? I am just one." I ask, "What wouldn't you do, if it were your sister? What wouldn't you do, if it were your daughter? Do that. Get involved and get interrupted. It all starts with the one."

the process The Esther Project was difficult. But all things valuable require work. If one person is helped through this project it will be worth all of my work. I began almost a year ago pouring over the book of Esther. I meditated on it and tried to imagine which themes and motifs best served my purpose. I knew that I wanted each print to be a somewhat abstract representation of human trafficking. I did not want to dilute the horrors in any way, but I wanted to make it somewhat palatable to the average viewer. My goal was to make the prints relatable and palatable to the viewer. While researching, I was immediately drawn the words "for such a time as this." They seemed to encapsulate the entire goal of my project: to motivate. Those words had this sense of urgency that rang about them. They made me think "now is the time" and "this may be our only shot." After settling on these words, I began illustrating the first print. I did not immediately thing of the hourglass. I began with clocks, sundials, and even a watch. In order to make it more relatable to the "time running out" theme, I decided an hourglass was most appropriate. But then the question came of how to shape it, and what to fill it with? After reading further into Esther, I chose to fill it with ashes. Ashes are 18 •

a common motif throughout the text to convey a sense of mourning and disgust. This a sense very strongly tied to how I feel about trafficking as a whole. I mourn the loss of every life and future that trafficking devours. I also am disgusted that people justify the buying and selling of another human being. I shaped the figure to echo a woman's body. I want to continually remind people that the victims are just as human as we are and did not choose the life they now experience. The second print came as I read more about Xerxes harem of wives. Just like trafficking victims, these women were ripped from their families and brought to the palace to become concubines for the king. While modern victims are not so lucky as to live in a palace, they experience the same loss of dignity and familial security. They become something less than human, a resource, bought, sold and delivered. I chose to illustrate this principle by creating a "woman trophy" wrapped in packing tape and shipped to a undisclosed destination. Victims are literally shipped today by plane, train, and boat across borders to places far from home. The third and final print probably hits closest to home for me. It represents the fact that victims can

come from anywhere regardless of social status, race, and culture. I chose to illustrate a silhouette of a woman, so that she could represent literally anyone from the youngest child to a grown woman. I surrounded her with stars drawn in a childlike manner. The name Esther means star, and to me each victim lost is a light distinguished in our world. Once the prints were completed, I worked in a manner of ways to try and secure funds for the printing. After learning that I would not be able to procure a grant for the project due to the nature of my goal for the prints, I funded them myself. I had them screen printed at The Half and Half, a local print shop, because I think that incorporating local business is very important to any cause. Everything starts at home. Once the prints were printed, I planned to sell them both locally and online. There were 50 of each print, and they cost $50 per print or $120 for the set of three. These prices included shipping and printing costs. All proceeds beyond those costs will be donated Wellspring Living, an Atlanta-based organization that helps rehabilitate women and children trafficking victims. In addition to illustrating the prints and planning a marketing


how you can accomplish your goals

campaign, I met with my thesis advisor regularly. I spoke with him at least once a week throughout the entire thesis process. We had regularly scheduled meetings and he checked on my progress throughout the project. We also planned a press campaign. We worked on a press release that was sent to all local media sources, including news stations, newspapers, and free weekly papers. Without my advisor's help this project would have just been an idea. He helped to turn my ideas and goals into a reality.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Set a goal for your project. Begin researching how to accomplish this goal and what areas your talents can help. Make a financial plan and figure out how you plan to fund your project. Complete a back-up plan as well. Make a timeline. Begin immediately and set your finish date earlier than you have to be done. Meet your deadlines, and have someone check on your progress regularly. Don't forget to rest and have fun. Before your project is completed, plan marketing and how you want to get the word out. Whether you fail or succeed, be proud of your efforts and begin again if necessary.

work cited Berlin, A. Esther: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2001. Print. Craig, Jr, K. M. Reading Esther: A Case for the Literary Carnivalesque. Louisville, K.Y.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995. Print. Doniach, N. Purim, or the Feast of Esther. Philadephia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1933. Print. Fox, M. The Redaction of the Books of Esther: On Reading Composite Texts. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991. Print. Fox, M. Character and Ideology in the Book of Esther. Columbia, S.C.: Scholars Press, 1991. Print. International Justice Mission, Forced Labor Factsheet, Isherwood, L. Patriarchs, Prophets and Other Villians. London: Equinox, 2007. Print. Lazaridis, G. 'Trafficking and Prostitution: The Growing Exploitation of Migrant Women in Greece', European Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 8, Is. 67. 2001. Print. Peterson, E. Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006. Print. Swindoll, C. Esther: A Woman of Strength and Dignity: A Profile in Character. Nashville: Word Pub, 1997. Print. UN Global Initiative to Fighting Human Trafficking, docs/issues_doc/labour/Forced_labour/ HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_-_THE_ FACTS_-_final.pdf 20 •

The Esther Project

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