Using Charity Events to Support Anti-Slavery Programs
Fundraisers and charity events are common in nightlife culture. Political parties, disaster relief organizations and specialized lobby groups of all types use nightlife as a way to raise awareness and revenue.
While nightlife is a natural locale for charity events, certain causes resonate more deeply within this culture. Some causes offer us a chance to not only help an oppressed group. They can also be an opportunity to alter the way nightlife is perceived in the general public. Modern slavery is a crime that affects millions of people every day. Organizations like Life Preservers provide a vital service by harnessing the creativity and community of nightlife to help slavery victims recover from their ordeal.
Slavery as a Modern Industry
There have been several high profile news stories about sex slavery in recent months. Before taking his own life, Ariel Castro pled guilty to keeping three sex slaves locked in his basement for more than ten years. Over the summer, FBI Operation Cross Country freed more than 150 children in 75 cities across the United States from alleged traffickers. Awareness of this issue is growing, but at a slow pace.
The overall picture of modern slavery is more widespread but less reported. Some statistics place the number of people affected by slavery worldwide at more than twelve million. While actual numbers can't be determined because of the amorphous and underground nature of the crime, it is estimated that there are more slaves in the world today than any other time in human history.
A non-profit organization called Life Preservers Project battles against the rising tide of slavery by “raising money and awareness for those nonprofit organizations providing services and welfare to the victims of sexual and human trafficking”. Led by Shana Pederson, the group hosts annual events in upscale venues like DL and Toshi's Living Room.
These parties combine art, music and fashion to bring people together and expose them to the realities of modern slavery. Many of the performances and artistic displays come from people who escaped the slavery system. Their art is both a cathartic release for the artist and a message to the viewer, providing a small window into an experience that few people can comprehend.
Ms. Pederson has built the Life Preservers programs into events that get larger every year, as more sponsors and patrons become informed and decide to help. "There is an amazing natural energy and community that brings people out at night. It gives us a chance to celebrate the freedom that our rescued girls have achieved and celebrate our own freedom at the same time."
Using nightlife culture to counteract the effects of sexual slavery is important because the two activities lie on opposite poles of sexual expression. Where creative sexual expression is basic to nightlife culture, destructive sexuality defines modern slavery. Nightlife culture is about choice. Slavery is about force. When Life Preservers use music and art in a nightlife event to help victims of sexual slavery, they are using the positive aspects of sexual expression against the negative elements.
The next Life Preservers event is scheduled for early 2014. If you'd like to learn more about their anti-slavery programs or if you would like to make a donation, please visit http://lifepreserversproject.org/index.html