Lisa Kristine hopes to promote awareness of modern slavery through her photography, which is currently on display at UNO’s Criss Library and Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center.
Over the last 28 years, Kristine has documented the indigenous cultures of more than 100 countries across six continents. According to a self-guided tour sheet from the exhibit, she met a supporter of Free the Slaves in 2009, which is a non-governmental organization dedicated to eradicating modern slavery. Through this organization, Kristine’s work with documenting slavery started.
Many believe that slavery ended hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for more than 20 million people enslaved in the world today. This is double the amount of people taken from Africa during the entire Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, according to an information sheet at the exhibit.
Today, families can be enslaved for multiple generations over a debt as small as 20 dollars. Many have been tricked by false promises of better jobs or education only to find they’re forced to work without pay. Those who are enslaved can’t easily walk away from the situations they’re in without the risk of being seriously injured or killed.
Although slavery is illegal worldwide, it still generates profits of over 100 billion dollars each year. Slaves are forced to do labor such as hauling heavy bricks and stone in scalding hot temperatures, sex work, fishing for hours in poor conditions and working in illegal mine shafts.
Grown men and women aren’t the only ones victimized by modern slavery–children are involved as well–and are often made to work for hours on end. Children are especially desired in the slave trade because they have small fingers, which makes it easier to weave carpet and other textiles. Those who are enslaved are at risk of dying of exhaustion, malaria and tuberculosis among other things.
Kristine’s gorgeously affecting photos showcase the harsh, hidden reality that is modern slavery. Her photography is on display until May 19 in coordination with the 18th annual Leonard and Shirley Goldstein Lecture on Human Rights.
For more information on the exhibit and supplementary events happening around campus throughout April, visit library.unomaha.edu/enslaved.