ADRants.com By Angela Natividad
This is one way to get people to think about Human Trafficking.
Probably one of the scariest things about human trafficking is that it’s kinda like objectification brought to the lowest common denominator: you’re not just eyeballing someone like a slab of meat; you’re actually treating the person like an item on which you can impose your will.
Bringing this idea to stark relief, the German arm of Amnesty International celebrated the 60th anniversary of human rights in 2008 with “Frau im Koffer” (“Woman in Suitcase”), a guerrilla effort where a live contortionist was squeezed into a transparent suitcase and tossed onto a conveyor belt in baggage claim.
Stickers slathered over the suitcase looked like inspections stamps but were actually signs proclaiming the barbarism of human trafficking — “Menschenhandel” — as well as the allegorical Merchandise Man (Die Ware Mensch) that keeps the business going.
Good work — a natural extension, I think, to a more recent campaign in which a female body is shrink-wrapped and labeled. Other attempts to emphasize the objectification that makes this trade so freaktastic include this South African effort, where women at a job fair were bamboozled into stepping into a prostitution storefront, Amsterdam-style.
Work like this always flings me into a bit of moral conflict; in its efforts to drive the humiliation of exploitation home, it’s exploitative as well. Less so, obviously, for actresses that choose to participate in the effort — but what about the South African work, where women didn’t realize they were walking into a big fat moral lesson?
Iffy iffy. But good food for thought. =P