Engaging Human Trafficking Through the Arts

Can you make art that stops traffic?

We believe art has power to open eyes and hearts, to provoke questions and engage minds. We believe ending modern slavery requires the creativity artists bring to the table. We believe students can make an impact. We want to help you do it.

Just Art: Price of Life Creative Competitions

Price of Life NYC presents JUST ART  – a series of creative competitions around human trafficking.

Competition Overview

A growing number of artists have created sophisticated and powerful art that is issue based, from art collectives like Group Material in the 1980’s to Thomas Hirschhorn today. Issue-based art is prominent in museums and galleries around the world, and a plethora of alternative and community based art practices have flourished. This competition is intended to explore a new generation of artists that are exploring issues of justice in their art.

The focus of this competition is on the issue of human trafficking, a horrific injustice that is overshadowing our globe and our very own home of NYC. We are calling for works of art in any medium that engage this issue and show how a rising generation of artists envision standing for justice through their art practice.

The Price of Life believes there is incredible strength in gathering and inspiring a community to rally around an issue through the arts. That is why we are inviting the future leaders of the art world, students, to participate in this city-wide campaign to bring awareness to human trafficking.

Don’t miss out – sign up for competition launch notices here.

Price of Life invites students to participate in any of the following three competitions:

Theme: “Piercing Light into the Darkness”

The visual arts competition calls students to submit pieces that inform and shed light on the issue of human trafficking in our city. With an estimated 27 million modern day slaves in the world today, unbeknownst to many, human trafficking occurs in our own backyards. Through this competition we are calling artists to engage our city with an issue that has been left in the dark.

Who can enter?
-Age 18+
-College students (must attend a school at some point between 2/12 and 2/14)

“Rescued to Restoration”

The collaborative competition calls 2+ people to collaborate in any two artistic media, expressing and engaging audiences with the journey of healing and restoration for survivors of human trafficking. Works may illustrate the emotional, physical and/or spiritual reality of a survivor’s journey back to wholeness. In the spirit of community, come together to create collaborative works that foster healing.

Entrants will submit proposals. Finalist proposals will be selected by jurors, with final compositions exhibited at the Price of Life’s Freedom Festival in October 2013, at NYC’s City Center. Professional artists will jury the exhibited pieces across the country, with winners announced at the Freedom Festival.

Who can enter?
-Groups of 2 or more people using 2 or more artistic genres/styles
-Age 18+ (all group members)
-At least one member of the group must be a college student (must attend a school at some point between 2/12 and 2/14)

“Truth or Myth”

This competition focuses on art with a direct message, such as PSAs & Infographics. This competition calls students to create marketing pieces in these veins with the aim of telling the truth about human trafficking, shattering myths and reframing the issue for viewers. The overall goal is to inform and engage the city with the facts about human trafficking through graphic art.

Who can enter?
-Individuals OR groups
-Age 18+ (all group members)
-Individual entries and at least one member of any group must be a college student (must attend a school at some point between 2/12 and 2/14)

At least $2500 in prizes for winners!

Prizes include Audience Choice Awards + the chance to be in a juried art exhibition, held at the Freedom Festival @ City Center, October 11-13, 2013

Artists are responsible for bringing works selected for exhibition to exhibition site at agreed upon dates and times. There are no funds available to compensate artists for shipping works. One entry per person per competition. Details may change.

Is your organization interested in reaching & inspiring hundreds of New York City’s most creative students? Sponsorship packages are available for all creative competitions. Contact Justin Mattera for more information.

Want to make art that stops traffic? Take time to learn more about human trafficking. Price of Life is calling for art that comes from a place of awareness and truth. Here are some resources to help you get there.


Engage with the issues by attend an upcoming Price of Life Event.


Do your homework with these simple educational resources.

  • Watch this short, clever video about human trafficking basics.
  • Fact sheets by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation Misconception
    1. Pimps and Traffickers
    2. Pornography
    3. Prostitution and Choice
  • For more human trafficking resources, check our our human trafficking resources page.

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