Invisible Slavery Today at the Freedom Center

Too often museums are stale, full of interesting but minimally relevant information and artifacts. The things I learn in museums don’t change my immediate actions when I leave the museum. And that’s fine; historical perspective and artistic understanding are a vital influence on our thinking.

At the same time, it’s refreshing to visit a museum exhibit that has a feeling of immediacy, that calls me to action—now. Invisible: Slavery Today is exactly that kind of exhibit. It’s the new exploration of modern day slavery at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The Freedom Center is best known for it’s moving exhibits on historical slavery in America; but now the Center is expanding its vision to encompass the massive and growing need to address slavery around the world today.

Freedom Center Statement

I got to preview the exhibit in October. The first half of the exhibit is designed to look like a warehouse to represent how slaves are viewed as commodities. It explores five types of modern day slavery: bonded labor, sex trafficking, child labor, domestic servitude, and forced labor. Each type is represented by an image depicting the dehumanization that comes with slavery.

Types of Trafficking

Domestic Trafficking sdc106611

Next the exhibit looks at the factors that make people vulnerable to slavery and the means by which traffickers lure and oppress their victims.

Forces that Fuel Trafficking Means that Traffickers Use.

The next section explores the scope of each type of slavery. This section integrates information and statistics about slavery with the voices of the victims, providing a powerful, balanced, motivating message.

Voices of Trafficked People Voices of Trafficked People

The final section focused on how people could have an impact on such a large problem. It also incorporated hopeful stories of survivors. It was so refreshing to move from the darkness and bleakness of the previous sections to the bright, hopeful summary of the exhibit.

How to Fight Human Trafficking How to Fight Human TraffickingTrafficking Survivor Stories Trafficking Survivors Can Pursue Their Dreams

What I loved most about the exhibit was the ways they artfully told the story. The exhibit is rich with texture, imagery, information, and the voices of victims. It is interactive and action-focused, logical and emotional, heartbreaking and motivating.

If you live in Cincinnati or are passing through (it’s a great city to visit!), Invisible Slavery Today is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn about the problem of trafficking and how to fix it.

Freedom for Trafficked People Freedom for Trafficked People


Emily founded Stop Traffick Fashion in 2009. She’d been becoming more and more involved in the abolitionist movement, and she decided to start STF as an opportunity to bring together the best of all products made by survivors of trafficking. She hopes her response to trafficking will inspire others to take action, even in a small way. Emily lives in Bend, Oregon, enjoys traveling, and has visited Hagar International and StopStart in Cambodia.

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