More than a Survivor: More than a Story
February 6 – March 19, 2016
The news is full of articles on sex trafficking. From Milwaukee to Bangkok, this shameful industry destroys the lives of the women and men lured into it.
Through photographs and personal testimony More Than A Survivor: More Than A Story tells the stories of 22 women from across the United States. Survivors of human trafficking, they have become leaders within a variety of professional fields. One of the 22 portraits features Savannah Sanders, a staff member of both Sandra Day O’Connor SAFE Action and Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). Nationally-known survivor, Marian Hatcher, a Loyola University Chicago alumna and Human Trafficking Coordinator in the Office of Policy in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, also tells her success story.
The exhibition reflects LUMA’s mission to explore issues of social justice through the arts. Institutionally, More than a Survivor hits home because it includes the story of Loyola University Chicago alumna and former LUMA student worker, Shamere McKenzie. Ms. McKenzie is now the CEO of the Sun Gate Foundation.
Pamela Ambrose, Director of the Loyola University Museum of Art, states, “The women featured in this exhibition are contemporary heroes. They are strong in their spirit to the point of being able to envision a future for themselves when society seemed to have failed them. Their stories are inspirational for anyone, male or female, who is co-opted by despicable people and may not see a way out.”
The exhibition is a project of the New York-based nonprofit GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. GEMS is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. GEMS was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been sexually exploited as a teenager. GEMS has helped hundreds of girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, to exit the commercial sex industry and to develop to their full potential. GEMS provides young women with empathetic, consistent support, and viable opportunities for positive change.