Countering Human Trafficking Through Visual Arts

By Mike Mungai, Bwana Mdogo Arts (BMA)

Follow Bwana Mdogo Arts and other artists against human trafficking by liking their facebook page. Artists sharing this passion too are welcome to join in.

The  visual arts speak to the eye in such an effective manner that no any other communication medium does. What impresses the eye, gets priority in the dissemination process.

Albert Einstein commenting on the  situation of the Black Americans said, “the greatest disease in America today is the treatment of the negro”. Today however the greatest disease world over today is  human trafficking. Efforts to address human trafficking should traverse all factors and processes that contribute to its continuity. Though this battle is hard,  in our different but small ways; we can prevent one more person, or two or three or a hundred thousand from falling prey to human trafficking.

Bwana Mdogo Arts is an organization established to educate, sensitize and entertain the population through the production of graphic story lines (comics), fine art images, cartoons and posters.

Bwana Mdogo Arts has a vision of educating, addressing issues of social economic justice, promoting peace and spreading joy through visual arts. The main premise of this budding organization is that, it is much easier for masses to understand that which they see. As such, Bwana Mdogo Arts strives to capture and graphically present real situations that run against the principles of common justice or those that contribute to the common good in a unique but ordinary ways. At times evil or good are latent and hard to decipher. However the process by which either good or bad occurs can easily be observed. In reality however, people focus on the latency and hence are by passed by important events. The main hope of BMA is that its illustrations will challenge the masses to become more humane and in turn help in the behaviour change.

Since 2009, BMA came up with a number of illustrations on human trafficking. The first and main one was posted on the KARDS counter trafficking portal. This illustration  introduced the online directory. In the picture were a group of people (a policeman, a Maasai, a pastor and a graduate) standing in a line and a small boy trying to identify a potential human trafficker. The title of the image was “who is a trafficker?” this is a question that is tricky to answer, since given different situations maybe all of the characters in the image contributed to trafficking in persons, one way or the other.

This was followed by more illustrations that culminated in the cover image on the KARDS-MM study. Over the years, Bwana Mdogo Arts as an entity has continued to come up with more and more illustrations, for use on banners, flyers, as posters and even illustrations for books. Some of these illustrations are posted on this blog. Click here to get to the counter human trafficking arts.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mfalme
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 20:09:04

    How can I contribute in this very noble cause,other than that I deeply take my ‘crown’ off for 5minutes,for what you are doing as a visual artist and also for all the trafficked human beings,especially here in Africa and a clenched fist to the ‘traffickers’
    Cheers BMA

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  2. Mike Mungai
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 19:36:23

    Well Mfalme,
    Counter human trafficking activities are geared on either: (1) preventing trafficking from taking place (2) assisting victims of trafficking (3) prosecuting human trafficking suspects. Human trafficking takes various shape and forms, but the simplest one is the moving of a person from one person to another, for the purpose of exploitation.
    It can be the under-age and mistreated girl working for your neighbor, to the foreigner working in a farm or factory but earning peanuts. What you can do is report the instances to the nearest district children officer or local administration, or to organizations that work to assist victims of trafficking. You can also create awareness, young under age girls who want to go and work in the big city, who want to work in a foreign country. Tell them the negative sides of such opportunities. You can even warn people from a message from a t-shirt that you are wearing.
    — Bwana Mdogo.

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