The Shape of Survival


“When you meet a survivor of human trafficking, everything changes. This huge, global issue suddenly has a face, a name, a voice. It’s an overwhelming experience, especially when that survivor is a little girl, a child. When I came back from the Philippines, I couldn’t sleep. I could hear the girls’ voices in my head at night, singing. I began making portraits of them in clay, and all this work came out. Then I was able to sleep. Power and abuse of power are central to these human rights violations. Whether it’s sex trafficking or forcing a child to make bricks, it’s stripping somebody of their rights through force or coercion.”

It is our responsibility to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Jonathan Huang, ’13 MFA Photography, creates contemplative spaces as a form of advocacy for victims of sex trafficking. In 2008-2009, he helped establish My Refuge House, an aftercare facility in Cebu, Philippines, for girls rescued from sex trafficking. 

Allison Arbuthnot Sanders

Allison is a staff writer in San Jose State's marketing and communications department. A former food writer, she enjoys telling the stories of the people and places that power SJSU.

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