Painting the silence: stories about disability and trafficking

 
   

On International Women's Day, on 8 March 2022, in Dakar Senegal, the exhibition "Painting the silence: stories about disability and trafficking" were organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for West and Central Africa, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for West Africa and the association Handicap.sn.  

According to the regional director of UNODC for West and Central Africa, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés “Persons living with Disability contribute to the development of a nation and have the same rights as any other person. Therefore, we risk missing many talents like the ones shown by the 9 artists member of Handicap.sn during this exhibition, if we do not provide them with the resources, support, and dignity that any human being needs to develop her or his full potential.

The activity was carried out within the framework of the PROMIS project – dedicated to providing a human rights-based approach to Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons, funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

According to the regional director of UNODC for West and Central Africa, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés “Persons living with Disability contribute to the development of a nation and have the same rights as any other person. Therefore, we risk missing many talents like the ones shown by the 9 artists member of Handicap.sn during this exhibition, if we do not provide them with the resources, support, and dignity that any human being needs to develop her or his full potential."
   

The opening of the exhibition was preceded by a panel with the participation of: Mrs. Aïssatou Cissé, Special Advisor to the President of the Republic, Macky Sall, in charge of policies related to vulnerability and disability; Mrs. Amy SARR FALL, Director of Intelligences magazine; Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, Regional Director of UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa; Mr. Issa SAKA, National Programme Coordinator, UNODC, Regional Office for West and Central Africa; Ms. Moetsi Duchattelier, Regional Gender Advisor, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office for West Africa (OHCHR-WARO); Mr. Martin HEMMI, UNODC, Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Section who launched the “Abused and Neglected” report in French.

Nine artists members of Handicap.sn told the stories of people living with a disability who were victims of trafficking through art. Bakary Diakite depicts the story of a Princess forced into prostitution by her aunt. Khady Pouye portrays a young girl living with a disability whose mother forced her to beg in order to support her family. Mane Ndiaye shows the Broken Innocence of a child, also forced to beg by his mother. Boun Oumar Ndiaye denounces the fate of a child forced to work by his uncle. Nafi Diatta lifts the veil on forced marriage and prostitution. Souleymane recounts his childhood when he was forced to beg. Khady Touré sheds tears from the heart and denounces forced and early marriage in Senegal. Mamadou Barre recounts his experience as a talibé child forced to beg. Ndary Gueye takes us into Coumba's Dance for Freedom, as she was promised to a life of a girl child forced to beg by her mother, but she overcame all obstacles to become a dancer. 

This exhibition is the result of a workshop that took place from November 22 to 30, 2021, during which the artists were trained by the UNODC West and Central Africa Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (TIPSOM) section to understand the relationship between the concepts of human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, vulnerability, and disability. On the other hand, the photojournalist Marta Moreira guided them in the artistic implementation of these notions in order to produce their works through mixed techniques of photography and plastic arts, allowing to keep the anonymity of the victims. 

Most of the stories are related to women or children who are victims of trafficking. In the context of International Women’s Day, the aim was to convey the message that: to achieve sustainable equality, it is up to everyone to commit to the promotion and protection of the rights of every woman and man including people with disabilities, especially women, against trafficking and to show that with creativity and support there is no obstacle to the achievement of one’s dream.

Read more on this at: http://lesoleil.sn/exposition-a-lespace-loman-art-neuf-artistes-peignent-le-silence-et-la-stigmatisation-des-handicapes/